Much more below the break....
So what can we say is the reason that both countries and international donors have no reservations about supporting solar home systems, but they have been somewhat tepid towards improved biomass stoves? To understand the reason for these different perceptions of these programs, it never hurts to examine a bit of history. Oversimplifying a bit, the first solar home system projects established over 10 years ago were mostly small pilot projects. With limited exceptions, they were more oriented towards installing systems with hefty subsidies for lucky villages. There was little market development or poor after sales support for these solar home systems. In fact, I remember one solar home program in a not to be identified country in which systems were given free of charge to most households in a community, and they were subsequently sold off by the villagers for cash. At least this proved the new buyers had a willingness to pay for those systems.
|Sri Lanka Retail Store Solar Lighting by Dominic Sansoni|
|Media Campaign for IDCOL Solar PV Photo by IDCOL|
In many countries there are already either rural development or energy funds that could be directed towards improved stoves under the right conditions. This is the case in countries as diverse as Mali and Bangladesh. These funds commonly run by local development banks or specialized energy units. They have the ability to blend both loans and subsidies and provide them to qualified organizations. They are responsible for setting quality standards because they do not want to loan out money for systems that fail before the loan is collected. The NGOs are responsible for marketing and in many cases financing stoves over a period of time. They certainly would be happy to accept technical assistance money to develop awareness campaigns, something which they are quite qualified. The manufactures can then promote their stoves both through private retailers and partnerships with NGOs to reach people that cannot afford the upfront costs of these technologies.