NREL Supports Effort to Take Distributed Photovoltaics to Developing Countries
In U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partner countries, NREL develops and implements pilot projects to accelerate the development of distributed photovoltaics (PV), where solar power is generated in the community where it will be used.
A country is chosen to participate in a pilot project based not only on its demand for renewable energy but also on its need. Pilot projects are underway in Thailand and Colombia, and there's interest in Ghana, Peru, Cambodia, and Laos. Mexico also is on the list of countries where USAID may rely on NREL's expertise.
NREL's technical partner role requires repeat visits to a country, and the buy-in of its leadership. In all, the process can take the better part of a year because distributed PV projects rely on in-country organization.
More than a billion people live without access to electricity, so the addition of distributed PV means much more than adding renewable energy to the grid. Also many developing countries have signed on to the Paris climate accord, resulting in ambitious targets to use more clean energy or to reduce emissions.