Rural Electrification Systems based on Renewable Energy: The Social Dimensions of an Innovative Technology Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2010

start page

  • 303

end page

  • 311


  • 4


  • 32

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0160-791X


  • Many areas in rural non-Western regions are installing electrification systems based on renewable energy. Although these projects are usually welcome, they sometimes fail. Explanations for failures often cite
    technical reasons. In this research, partly based on the results of the
    SOPRA_RE project, we focus on the users, studying the relationships
    between technology and society. By analysing potential sources of
    failures, we identify the root of the problem as how a new technology is
    received by the local society. In this paper we introduce dimensions
    that we consider to be especially important in the process of technology
    integration. We defend the importance of combining the technical
    outlook with the sociological one, based on the idea that the latter is
    often indispensable as a complementary element of technical explanations
    of system failures, which in turn provides a better basis for solving
    them. We use specific examples to bolster our insistence on the need to
    achieve convergence between the technical and the sociological outlooks.