Urban Energy Technical Note 17: Solar Home Systems and Solar Lanterns
Globally, approximately 1.5 billion people do not have access to electricity, often living far from the electricity grid. Household solar systems and lanterns allow those consumers access to electricity and replace costly, harmful kerosene lamps and candles. While solar lanterns play an important role in curbing kerosene usage and providing light to students, more sophisticated solar systems have been developed in recent years that provide a range of functions to customers – from mobile charging to television usage. While solar technology has been promoted in developing countries since the 1970s, it is only recently that falling prices and innovative business models have led to more widespread adoption.
A solar home system is a stand-alone system, suitable for residential applications such as home appliances, lighting, phone charging, computers and water pumps. A solar home system is generally designed and sized to supply direct current (DC) and/or alternating current (AC) electrical appliances. It consists of a solar module connected to a solar charge controller, an inverter and a battery. The generated DC power is stored in the battery and converted to AC power for supplying to AC loads.