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Success factors and financial viability of rural solar energy projects: a case study on blueEnergy Nicaragua

Laurikainen, Miia (2010) Success factors and financial viability of rural solar energy projects: a case study on blueEnergy Nicaragua. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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In a world where billions of people still lack access to clean and affordable energy services the need for successful and financially viable rural electrification projects in developing countries is immense. In the last decade the focus of the rural electrification projects has shifted from traditional grid-extensions towards small-scale off-grid applications utilizing renewable energy. Such projects are often executed by various local non-governmental organizations receiving funding from international donor organizations. Due to myriad institutional, social and economic factors in different countries the success and financial viability of these projects can be difficult to ensure. The local NGOs are often left to scramble for short-term external financing year after year, without a sound plan for the long-term financial viability, thus undermining the overall success of the projects.

This dissertation set out to find the best ways for a rural solar energy project in a developing country to become financially viable after the initial financing from the donor organization had ended. The general success factors of projects as well as the role of the donor organization in helping to enhance the financial viability were also studied. The answers were sought with a review of the existing literature on the topic as a backdrop for a case study project in rural Nicaragua. By comparing the case study project to another, already established and successful project the trends that had emerged from the literature could be further highlighted and confirmed. The role of the donor organization was found to be crucial in helping the NGOs in developing countries planning for long-term financial viability, and one of the best ways for a NGO to ensure sound long-term financing was to develop the projects.into small commercial enterprises, or to form mutually beneficial partnerships with the existing ones. The overall success of the project as well as its financial viability was seen to be deeply dependent on the level of co-operation achieved between the various stakeholders.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Energy
Supervisor(s): Urmee, Tania
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