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  Other Technologies
 
   
   Introduction
 

In terms of renewable energy sources, Sri Lanka has the potential to access solar, wind, hydro, biomass and biogas technologies.
   Solar Power
 


Solar PV was introduced to Sri Lanka in the early 1980s and the private sector has grown a commercial retail market over the years. The solar resource is most abundant in the dryer areas both in the mid country and the plains (northern, north central, north western, eastern, southern and uva areas). The target consumer has been the richer householder who could afford to pay up to Rs. 30,000 per system (US $ 300). However, with a pioneering micro financing partnership between vendors and Sarvodaya (SEEDS), the market has expanded significantly. The number of solar-home systems in the country is over 100,000 and the market has yet to be saturated. Micro financing has enabled the vendors to penetrate a larger market segment moving down the ladder from the richer households. The vendors also have a partner to share the risk of selling in rural areas.

   
 
To complement this process, the Uva Provincial Council established a pioneering programme to subsidize solar home systems by Rs. 10,000 (US $ 100). Uva used 25% of its budget allocation for rural electrification using off-grid energy. This enabled Uva to reach a larger number of households at a lower cost and also share the cost and risk with the consumers, private sector and the MFI. This has become a true public-private partnership in rural electrification.


There have been over 6,000 solar home systems installed in Uva and a recent survey conducted by the province’s Ministry of Energy has shown that over 95% of the consumers are satisfied with the service. Hence solar PV has been effective in providing off-grid households in rural areas with power in an effective and reliable manner.
   
 
However, solar PV has its limitations. It produces 12 Volt DC power which requires special DC appliances. The choice of appliances is limited to lamps, televisions and radios at the moment, and the system itself is limited by its power output. Typical systems range from 30 to 80 Watts of power. Often, a more affluent household who could afford a refrigerator cannot purchase one as it would not fit the system.


Even with these limitations, solar PV is making a significant impact in rural areas. A recent survey confirmed other benefits such as extended hours of light for children who are studying, a smoke free safe environment and a cleaner home. It also showed a benefit to women in particular who had extra time in the night to engage in activities such as sewing and cooking.
   Village Wind Power
 

Wind power is available mostly in coastal areas and some hill country regions (central, uva, southern, north western, northern, eastern areas). Community based wind power projects have yet to take off on a large scale in Sri Lanka. The availability of site-specific wind resource assessments is a factor that may hinder the development of such projects.
 
   
 
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