Energy consumption and energy poverty in lower income countries: drivers for a solar transition

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Author(s) :
Maryème Kettani, Maria Eugenia Sanin

There is a growing interest in understanding determinants of household energy demand and energy poverty in lower-income countries. This is the case because most of the world’s increase in demand will come from the global south where there is the need to improve living standards while succeeding the energy transition. Herein we study energy demand determinants and energy poverty in Morocco and assess to which extent the adoption of PV panels could help achieve a just energy transition. We find that socioeconomic demand determinants are in line with the previous literature on developed countries but magnitudes are generally higher and some of them change signs. Moreover, inequalities drastically change demand patterns: for total energy and electricity consumption, income elasticities are higher for richer consumers, the opposite happens with butane. Regarding affordability, our main results suggest that 14% of Moroccan households are energy poor. We also find that energy poor households usually have a large family size, live in rural areas with a large number of rooms, and headed by inactive men with no education. Regarding the economic attractiveness of solar panel adoption in the residential sector as a mean to increase energy affordability and promote the energy transition, our main findings suggest that, with current subsidized prices, solar electricity is competitive for big consumers (more than 500kWh/month). We also find that if all households for which PV is competitive actually install, the installed capacity would reach 30 MWp. With the installation of this capacity, the government would save a minimum annual amount of around half a million dollars in energy subsidies. Instead, if subsidies are dismantled for all households consuming more than 300 kWh/month, PV panels become competitive for all households that consume more than the median, liberating resources to subsidize adoption in low-income households.