Analysis of standalone solar streetlights for improved energy access in displaced settlements

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper examines the gap between the design and in-situ performance of solar streetlight interventions in two humanitarian settings. Displaced settlements often lack street lighting and electricity. Given that off-grid solar streetlights produce surplus energy, we hypothesized that this energy could be made available for daily usage, to improve system performance and provide further energy access to displaced populations. We recognize, however, that solar streetlight performance and longevity have typically been poor in remote and refugee settings. Eleven solar streetlights were fitted with ground-level sockets and their performance monitored, in two displaced settlements: a refugee camp in Rwanda and an internally displaced population settlement in Nepal. Considerable performance gaps were found across all eleven systems. Inefficient lights and mismatching system components were major issues at both sites, reducing targeted designed performance ratios by 33% and 53% on average in Rwanda and Nepal, respectively. The challenges of deploying these types of systems in temporary settlements are outlined and a number of suggestions are made to guide future developments in the design and implementation of sustainable solar streetlight interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-914
Number of pages20
JournalRenewable Energy
Early online date30 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Article published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 International license.


Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) for funding the Humanitarian Engineering and Energy for Displacement (HEED) project as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (EP/P029531/1)


  • Humanitarian
  • Photovoltaic PV
  • Off-grid
  • Intervention
  • Monitoring
  • Refugees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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