Energy services are critical for all of our health and livelihoods, while enabling productive activities and economic prosperity. However, more than a billion people around the world in rural areas and urban informal settlements do not have access to these services and infrastructure. While in many countries, even where the grid exists, grid electricity is not reliable or affordable.
Many projects and programs in emerging economies and communities in disaster recovery, as well as other disadvantaged communities, aim to improve access to modern energy services and renewable energy technologies. From small and appliance-integrated to utility-scale have an important role in delivering these services cost-effectively.
However, there are a range of technical, economic, social and institutional challenges associated with this ongoing work. At UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, we undertake research on improving energy access planning, design and operation in underserved communities. This includes delivering a number of small energy projects, particularly in Pacific Island Countries and Australian indigenous communities.