Solar-Based Rural Electrification and Microenterprise Development in Latin America: A Gender Analysis

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


Worldwide, an estimated 1.5 to 2 billion people do not have access to electricity, including 100 million in the Latin America region. Depending on the country, 30 to 90 % of this unelectrified Latin American population lives in rural areas where geographic remoteness and low energy consumption patterns may preclude the extension of the conventional electricity grid. Women are heavily impacted bythe energy scarcity given their role as primary energy procurers and users for the household, agricultural and small industrial subsectors in developing countries. As a result, women spend disproportionately more time engaged in energy-related activities like carrying water and searching for cooking fuel. This paper describes the use of decentralized renewable energy systems as one approach tomeet the energy needs of rural areas in Latin America. It outlines the advantages of a decentralized energy paradigm to achieve international development goals, especially as they relate to women. The paper studies Enersol Associates, Inc.'s Solar-Based Rural Electrification model as an example of a decentralized energy program which has merged energy and development needs through the localinvolvement of energy entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations and community members.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 2000

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-550-28995


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