Publication - Not There Yet: Mapping Inhibitions to Solar Energy Utilisation by Households in African Informal Urban Neighbourhoods
Not There Yet: Mapping Inhibitions to Solar Energy Utilisation by Households in African Informal Urban Neighbourhoods
Aliyu Salisu Barau, Aliyu Haidar Abubakar and Abdul-Hakim Ibrahim Kiyawa
The average household access to electricity in Nigeria is estimated at four hours per day. This paradoxical energy crisis in a top oil and gas exporting country makes an interesting case for local and global players in the sustainable energy agenda. The current study showcases experiences of households that installed and use solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies in urban Africa. It identifies the key sociotechnical transition issues that shape the households’ solar energy adoption strategies. To get a clear picture of the situation, the study focuses on the Kano urban agglomeration—a densely populated city with high economic activities. To answer the research question, the sampled respondents shared their experiences via questionnaire and interviews. Similarly, field observations guided the research team to identify patterns of household solar energy use, and how urban planning, building, and roofing types inhibit solar energy utilisation. From the results of the study, it appeared that households use solar energy for lighting, energising rechargeable appliances, and cooling of houses. Nevertheless, none of the respondents use solar photovoltaics (PVs) for cooking—the biggest consumer of fuelwood in Nigeria. Finally, this study is optimistic that despite the challenges identified, the transition to clean energy security in Africa is achievable through coordinated efforts of people, industry, and governments. The transition to renewables by households promises significant changes that can lever the mainstreaming of the UN Sustainable Development Goals-SDG no. 7.