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T.M. Makume

Executive Summary

This report on status of Photovoltaics (PV) and Solar Water Heaters (SWH) in Lesotho is a result of a research work conducted in Lesotho by a local researcher for African Energy Policy Research Network/Foundation for Woodstove Dissemination (AFREPREN/FWD).

The study addresses the issue of solar energy resources in Lesotho. It shows the availability of solar energy especially in the mountain areas of Lesotho, where one would expect not very much sun shine but shadows, and also the survival of the PV panels and SWH in the climatic conditions of Lesotho which are very much different from those of the rest of Africa.

The study further shows the solar energy institutions of Lesotho. These institutions do not particularly focus on solar energy only, but they also look into other sources of energy that are available in the country. There are also some independent bodies that deal with solar energy which the report has also dealt with.

The report also represents the status of both PV and SWH dissemination in Lesotho. Most of the people in the country especially in the rural areas do not afford the expenses of LEC electricity connection, therefore they have an option of using solar systems which are less expensive as compared to the electricity from the national grid. Solar energy is their best second choice most especially because the traditional fuel resources are very scarce.

Although SWH are only meant for those people who are rather very wealthy and who only use solar to minimize their bills on electricity, SWH are still disseminated in the country either by an informal or formal discussion by those who use them or by any other means.

The report shows the historical background of  dissemination of both PV and SWH. The past and present performance and it also touches on the future prospects. It shows that there is potential for a very bright future if only the local people can be made aware of the existence of these technologies.

Basotho are not very wealthy people and they are not so poor either. There are many who can afford to pay for the services of these technologies, it is only that these technologies are not known to them. Their dissemination seem to be only in district towns where electricity is the first choice of energy and is very much available, and some coal and other means of energy are also available, so the choice is very wide.

The report finally gives the references and the addresses of solar institutions in Lesotho especially of those that the researcher got some secondary information from in the process of writing this report.

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