Women lagging in use of solar power

Workers install new solar panels. Rural women lag behind in the use of such solar facilities. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • This is due to inability of women to access loans to buy solar energy devices - generally meaning that ownership of solar appliances mostly lies with men

Arusha. Rural women in Tanzania have taken back stage in solar energy use because they cannot access loans to buy the required appliances.

This is according to findings of a recent survey carried out by Ashden, a London-based charity working in the field of renewable energy.

The survey - carried out from 2017 to 2019 - found that many families cannot afford to buy the solar energy appliances for lack of funds.

“The research did find that a limited number of women had improved their earnings potential through access to solar energy,” said a press statement from Ashden.

The study was jointly funded by Wallace Global Fund, IKEA Foundation and UK’s Department of International Development (DfID).

It involved 1,260 households and 16 focus groups in Kagera and Morogoro regions from February to June 2017, and July to August 2019 in both areas.

The study found that, due to the inability of women to access loans to buy solar energy devices, ownership of solar appliances in Tanzania generally lay with men.

“With many families restricted to limited amounts of energy, women were deprioritising their own needs over those of other family members,” the statement further says.

The shortfall - according to Ashden CEO Harriet Lamb - could prevent neighbouring Kenya hitting its goal of universal energy access by 2022.

She said clean energy transition must take place in a way that improves the lives of women.

“Countries aiming for 100 percent energy access must tackle the wider issues that stop women from accessing the full benefits of clean, modern electricity,” she said.