Sustainable domestic lighting options for poor people—an empirical study


The availability of sustainable and reasonably priced sources of energy for lighting is a prerequisite for the development of rural India. This study attempts to take a close look at the micro-level energy scene and its various options for domestic lighting, considering socio-economic condition of the poor people in rural areas. The concept of calculating levelized cost as cost per 300 lumen-hour is applied on source–device combinations of lighting and validated in Bargaon Community Development Block of Sundergarh District in Odisha, India, for finding out the low-priced energy sources for sufficient lighting. It is revealed that LED and CFL through solar photovoltaic and electricity should be the best choice of domestic lighting. Most of the households (97 %), even electrified, use kerosene regularly. There is a huge potential of biogas and solar photovoltaic which can overcome the problem of power cut, indoor pollution, carbon emission, etc. Supporting electrification to all households, this study is also justifying about efficient devices and off-grid power generation through SPV for all households and biogas for possible 2300 households. Government should immediately intervene, providing capital subsidy, micro-finance schemes, other credit mechanisms, training to local youths, etc. with adequate infrastructure and organizational development to make the clean energy such as solar home lighting system and biogas plant affordable and accessible by the poor villagers.

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Jana, C. Sustainable domestic lighting options for poor people—an empirical study. Environ Dev Sustain 18, 1559–1573 (2016).

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  • Domestic lighting
  • Lumen
  • Levelized cost
  • Solar photovoltaic
  • Sustainability