The introduction of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in isolated areas which are far from the main grid has provided energy to non-electrified households. Such off-grid technology is very promising in the Asia Pacific region where increase in population and regional development has brought an increase in energy demand. This paper presents a methodology to assess the available supply of energy from solar PV systems and the corresponding demand from non-electrified areas. Non-electrified high population density areas were extracted using global population distribution and nightlight data, while the suitability of installing solar PV systems in those areas were identified based on slope, land cover and estimated solar PV power output. Moreover, the cost and benefits of installation were estimated based on the levelized cost of electricity generation from PV (LCOEPV
) and the percentage in the total household budget that can shoulder the said expense. Lastly, this study also proposed a novel and simple method to extract the power transmission lines (TLs) based on global road network and nightlight data used for defining off-grid areas. Results show that there are three general types of electrification trend in the region with only 11 out 28 countries exhibiting the ideal trend of decreasing population living in unlit areas with increasing GDP. This study also generated maps showing the spatial distribution of high potential areas for solar PV installation in Cambodia, North Korea and Myanmar as case studies. To date, the high estimated household income allotted for PV electricity is still experienced in most countries in the region, but these countries also have high initial generated electricity from PV systems. Outputs from this study can provide stakeholders with relevant information on the suitable areas for installations in the region and the expected socio-economic benefits.
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