The design and installation of Solar Home Systems in rural Cambodia

  • Rebecca Alice Watts Engineers Without Borders
  • Jeremy Smith The Australian National University
  • Andrew Thomson The Australian National University
Keywords: Solar energy, rural off-grid electrification, solar home systems, community development


This study contends that solar home systems (SHS) are an appropriate solution to provide affordable, reliable and clean electricity in rural Cambodia. SHS provide decentralised electricity suitable for the electricity needs of rural households and with the decreasing cost of solar energy technologies, SHS are becoming an increasingly competitive source of energy. This study details the design and installation of two SHS in a rural community in Cambodia. The SHS have replaced the use of kerosene lamps and supplemented car battery usage, which has generated a cost saving of USD$2.50-3.20 per month. The SHS have increased the hours of quality lighting making it possible for users to improve educational outcomes by studying at night and participating in private education classes as well as potentially extending their working hours that provides an opportunity to increase their income. Community involvement in the installation of SHS and participation in an education program has ensured transfer of knowledge about system operation and maintenance at a local level that has ensured economic, social and environmental were benefits. This study builds a case in support of solar energy at the household level in rural Cambodia and makes recommendations for the deployment of SHS in rural communities throughout the developing world.


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