In many developing countries with large rural populations and low rural electrification rates, most community health and education facilities lack access to electricity. For facilities in remote areas beyond reach of the national grid, photovoltaics (PV) systems may offer the most practical and least-cost way to access electricity. A PV system uses predictable solar resources and has long been cost competitive with diesel generators and other alternatives. In off-grid rural primary schools and health dispensaries, for example, PV systems oftentimes are an appropriate way to run many low-power, high-value appliances and equipment, from lamps and vaccine refrigerators to water pumps, television sets, and computers. Thus, if the electricity grid is not expected to arrive in the near future or if diesel fuel is unavailable or too expensive, a PV system may offer the least-cost technology for providing electricity service.

This toolkit is, at a minimum, a checklist of key issues to address in developing an institutional PV project. While it is not a technical manual, nor a substitute for using professional PV specialists to size, configure, and specify system and maintenance requirements, it offers practical operational guidance to assess, develop, and implement projects with PV systems in ways that enhance costeffective supply and sustainable post-project operations. The guidance offered herein demonstrates that the opportunities for effectively addressing the issues to establish the basis for sustainability are many.

The toolkit can be downloaded here