A literature-based study of the barriers to and advantages of small-scale manufacture of charge controllers and lamps for PV systems in developing countries

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Low quality charge controllers and lamps are common sources of failure in solar home systems in developing countries. It is often assumed that components manufactured at a small scale in developing countries are of lower quality than imported ones. On the other hand, a number of authors have suggested that small-scale, local manufacture has the potential to improve the installation, maintenance and use of PV technology. This paper aims to identify the extent to which these different claims are warranted by documented experiences and to provide a summary of barriers to and advantages of small scale manufacture of balance of system (BOS) electronics for small PV systems in developing countries. The PV literature has been reviewed for any accounts of small-scale manufacture of PV system components in developing countries. The review was further informed by case studies, site inspections and personal communications undertaken by the author, as described in (Bruce 2007). The implications of local manufacture for the successful commercialisation of the technology, and the implications of both project-based and cash-based implementation models for the success of local manufacture have been examined. The results of the literature review are presented in this paper.
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Bruce, Anna Gabrielle
Watt, Muriel Emmeline
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UNSW Faculty
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