Rethinking the term "Solar Systems"

June 15, 2009

I had a really interesting discussion at work with my boss Vijay Modi and some colleagues about the real costs of an off-grid “solar” systems.  The perception is often that solar panels make up the bulk of the cost of an off-grid system.  The reality, however, with any time horizon over three years is that the cost of batteries will be the biggest determining factor of cost over time.  It is for this reason, that Mark Hankin’s argues that off-grid system should not be called “solar systems” but rather battery-based systems.

If you consider that most off-grid systems in Africa fail after three years, this term is unfortunately even more appropriate.

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