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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

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