Norwegian version of this page

Solar xChange (completed)

The research project Solar xChange analyses experiences with different models for village scale solar power supply systems in the Global South and draws lessons for their wider dissemination. The project also provides new, real world examples and initiates up-scaling processes and knowledge exchange between investigated cases in different countries, through South-South-North learning. The work builds on the Solar Transitions project.

Primary and secondary objectives of the project

The primary objective of this research project is to contribute to the understanding of sustainability factors and socio-technical innovations for creation of viable systems for solar power supply at the village scale and up-scaling of such local "transitions to sustainability".

The secondary objectives include:

  1. Increasing the knowledge on how to design organizational, institutional, operational and business models for flexible and sustainable systems.
  2. Exploring the role of such electricity supply for climate adaptation, including reduction of vulnerability and increase of the adaptive capacity and resilience of individuals and local communities.
  3. Creating real world, social learning processes - socio-technical transitions in practice and provide insights in mechanisms of replication and up-scaling of such local sustainability experiments.
  4. Increasing the theoretical and practical knowledge about strategies for transfer and exchange of socio-technical models across geographical contexts.


The project is social science based and interdisciplinary, and analyses and compares four Indian, Kenyan and Senegalese cases of village scale solar and hybrid power systems, including micro-grids, energy centres and lantern charging stations.

Important aspects for the research are the experiences with implementation, social organization, economic sustainability, long-term operation and maintenance, as  well as the role of local involvement and national framework conditions.

The four cases represent promising solutions for the future in terms of successful elements that can be built on. The project team directly applies findings in pilot projects and up-scaling initiatives as well as activities for transfer and exchange of experience and socio-technical designs through action research. Ongoing pilot projects in Kenya are monitored, improved and expanded.

This has resulted in a cluster of pilot projects based on initiatives from the villages, creating a case for long-term monitoring, analysis and demonstration.

The proposed work facilitates replication and scaling up in a bottom-up manner based on interest, initiative and leadership of women and men at the local level in interaction with actors at other geographical levels. Theoretical implications for technology and knowledge transfer as well as socio-technical systems innovation are drawn. The results are published and disseminated in both academic and non-academic ways.


Funding scheme

The total grant award was for NOK 4 189 000.

  • Norway-Global partner (NORGLOBAL)  
  • The Research Council of Norway

Project period

2012 - 2017


  • Ulsrud, Kirsten; Rohracher, Harald; Winther, Tanja; Muchunku, Charles & Palit, Debajit (2018). Pathways to electricity for all: What makes village-scale solar power successful? Energy Research & Social Science. ISSN 2214-6296. 44, p. 32–40. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2018.04.027. Full text in Research Archive
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten; Rohracher, Harald & Muchunku, Charles (2018). Spatial transfer of innovations: South-South Learning on village-scale solar power supply between India and Kenya. Energy Policy. ISSN 0301-4215. 114, p. 89–97. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.11.064. Full text in Research Archive
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten (2017). Grønne innovasjoner i sosio-tekniske systemer. In Jordhus-Lier, David Christoffer & Stokke, Kristian (Ed.), Samfunnsgeografi: En innføring. Cappelen Damm Akademisk. ISSN 9788202547752. p. 317–332.
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten; Winther, Tanja; Palit, Debajit & Rohracher, Harald (2015). Village-level solar power in Africa: Accelerating access to electricity services through a socio-technical design in Kenya. Energy Research & Social Science. ISSN 2214-6296. 5, p. 34–44. doi: 10.1016/j.erss.2014.12.009.

View all works in Cristin

  • Ulsrud, Kirsten; Muchunku, Charles; Palit, Debajit & Kirubi, Gathu (2018). Solar Energy, Mini-grids and Sustainable Electricity Access: Practical Experiences, Lessons and Solutions from Senegal. Routledge. ISBN 9781138359031. 126 p.

View all works in Cristin

  • Ulsrud, Kirsten & Pileberg, Silje (2018). - Solenergi endrar livet på landsbygda i utviklingsland. [Internet].
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten (2017). Electricity access, solar power and energy system change in India, Kenya and Senegal.
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten & Muchunku, Charles (2017). Spatial transfer of innovations: South-South learning on solar mini-grids between India and Kenya.
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten (2017). Pathways towards affordable electricity access: Solutions and challenges for village-level solar power supply in different socio-cultural and political contexts.
  • Ulsrud, Kirsten (2016). New research on village-scale solar power supply - how can we achieve operational sustainability, economic sustainability and social equity? Results of case studies in Kenya, India and Senegal.
  • Winther, Tanja (2015). Tverrfaglighetens Tanja. [Business/trade/industry journal]. Apolllon.
  • Winther, Tanja (2015). Electricity and social science: Ongoing Projects and key issues.

View all works in Cristin

Published May 12, 2016 10:36 AM - Last modified Sep. 21, 2020 2:39 PM