Solar Energy for Village Development

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Science  10 Feb 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4329, pp. 651-657
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4329.651


The National Academy of Sciences held a joint workshop with the Government of Tanzania last August on the potential of solar energy for the villages of that country. Costs of five solar technologies (mini-hydroelectric generators, wind, methane generation from organic wastes, photovoltaic cells, and flat-plate solar collectors) were compared with costs of diesel-generated electricity and with electricity from the national grid. Each of the five technologies is either now competitive with diesel or will be in a few years. Although the figures presented are not conclusive since they are derived from calculations rather than an actual test, the results are encouraging enough to warrant serious testing in Third World villages.