Socio-economic impact of a solar water pumping system in a rural community in Indonesia
Decentralized renewable energy projects, such as solar photovoltaic water pumping, have been deployed to provide access to water in rural areas with strong involvement of the local community. However, the ways in which communities benefit from such projects has been insufficiently studied, and the establishment process has been better documented. Moreover, relevant studies from developing countries are limited. This study was conducted to provide empirical evidence of the local impacts of community-scale renewable energy projects in a developing country, using the case of solar water pumping in Indonesia. A questionnaire survey was used to evaluate the socio-economic impacts perceived by the beneficiaries, and, subsequently, qualitative and statistical analysis were conducted. The results showed that the capacity of the local management team and satisfaction in saving money were perceived as the most significant impacts. However, the economic benefit of financial savings did not translate to welfare improvement. These findings provide insights that shows that (1) members of rural communities gained knowledge regarding the renewable energy technology through project deployment and (2) creating a support mechanism along with project deployment is crucial to achieve greater development opportunities in the context of rural poverty alleviation.