One of the unique benefits of solar energy is its scalability. Solar panels can be installed on a house-by-house basis and do not require the same level of capital investment as other renewable technologies, such as wind power. This technology holds great potential for communities that are remotely located and widely dispersed, including many in the developing world.
According to Solar Energy International:
Providing power for villages in developing countries is a fast-growing market for photovoltaics. The United Nations estimates that more than 2 million villages worldwide are without electric power for water supply, refrigeration, lighting and other basic needs, and the cost of extending the utility grids is prohibitive, $23,000 to $46,000 per kilometer in 1988 (Energy Facts, n.d.), $43,942 to $87,864 in 2011 dollars.
The advancement of solar energy has potentially revolutionary implications for the developing world as much as the developed one. Technological developments in the past few years have made solar panels more inexpensive and a cost competitive option for many rural areas. In developing nations, where kerosene is expensive and there is no national electricity grid to speak of, those who are self-installing solar panels in their houses and communities are saving much needed resources and money.