Solar energy for sustainability in Africa: The challenges of socio-economic factors and technical complexities

Rashid Maqbool*, Stephen Arome Akubo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The world is faced with increased energy resources depletion, fluctuating costs, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and poor health effects which characterise traditional energy sources. All of these difficulties would be considerably alleviated if renewable energy were not widely used. This study draws from existing literature to propose a conceptual model that underpinned the focus on the relationship between solar energy projects and sustainability dimensions (economic, social and environmental sustainability). Socio-economic factors and technical complexities were tested to ascertain the moderating effect on solar energy and sustainability. A mixed research approach comprising quantitative and qualitative methodologies was integrated to carry out this study. The qualitative study was based on a case study of an ITC centre powered by solar energy in an academic institution in Nigeria. While the quantitative study depended on a survey with 227 valid responses taken through snowball sampling from the professionals working in the energy industry. Hierarchical multiple regression using SPSS 26 was carried out for the moderation analysis of the socio-economic factors and technical complexities towards sustainability dimensions. Results showed that solar energy has a strong positive direct effect on sustainability in all aspects of economic, social and environmental dimensions. The socio-economic factors are seen to have a moderating effect on the positive relationship between solar energy and all the three dimensions of sustainability, whereas technical complexities determine inverse moderating effect only on the relationship between solar energy and economic sustainability. The findings predicted that the socio-factors are the major challenges in hindering the overall sustainability in Africa rather than technical complexities, hence lead to a major concern for the economic, social and environmental dimensions. A similar outcome is also validated by the Case study of ITC centre powered project of solar energy. This study recommends a detailed model of solar energy development in terms of its potential and challenges in the developing parts of the world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Early online date22 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jul 2022

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