Impact of off-grid energy: Solar village Cambodia

What happens if all households in a village become sun-connected and start receiving a basic power supply with small Solar-Home Systems? Does this have an impact on their social and economic development?
To be able to make a long-term contribution towards alleviating poverty, the German Stiftung Solarenergie has decided not to provide isolated and scattered schools, health stations or huts with solar energy. Instead, the Stiftung Solarenergie pursued a policy of concentrated and comprehensive support to supply entire villages. Since 2004, solar villages have been successfully realized in East Africa. In 2015, the first solar village in Asia was implemented: Chbar Chros in Cambodia
Chbar Chros is a village of the Krang Chek commune in Udong district in Kampong Speu province in Cambodia. This village has 112 households with 6 persons in average per household. The village is mainly composed of houses with some little shops selling food and snacks. There is not a real place where people are gathering yet (like coffee shop to watch boxing games for example). The level of education is low in the village as 36% of parents are illiterate, 53% went to primary school and only 11% went to secondary school.
The principle behind the development of the solar village project is as followed: All households get a basic lighting system (2 LED, mobile phone charging) at a subsidized price, affordable even by the poorest households of the village. In that way, it is ensured that all families get sun-connected. The project was done in cooperation with CamKids and NRG Solutions.
Two months after the installation, in January 2016, the head of the community expressed his strong satisfaction towards the project by saying:
“When I walk through the village in the evening and talk to the villagers, I can see how happy and pleased they are with their new lights. They say that the village is just like a proper town because, thanks to their access to solar energy, now every house has light in the evening.”

Involved since the beginning of the project, Sevea was hired to make an independent impact assessment of the solar village Chbar Chros. Its role was to evaluate and measure the social, economic and environmental impacts brought by the sun-connection of the village.
The report shows significant improvements and interesting learnings. You can download the report here.

Sevea is a Cambodian consulting company offering strategic and operational advisory services to businesses, social enterprises, and organizations that seek to develop their impact strategies in the water & energy sectors and/or engage with BOP markets.