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Source: Foley (1995), p45

Source: Foley (1995), p45

The same study quite rightly cautioned that analysis of the competitiveness of solar systems needs to be done on a country-by-country basis, as installed prices vary from country to country due to the selection of components, taxes and import duties, and so on. But if we look at three countries which were analysed in depth in the mid 1990s - India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia - we find that solar was indeed competitive with kerosene and battery charging by this time (Table 3.8).

It is often assumed, and often still stated, that the 'high' cost of solar PV modules is the reason for its slow diffusion in emerging markets. But from this analysis, we can see that even by the 1990s, solar was already cost-competitive with the alternatives used by customers in the absence of a reliable electricity grid. As this may come as a surprise to the reader, it is worth repeating: solar was already cost-competitive in rural unelectrified markets. But if cost was not the issue, what then was holding solar back?

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