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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Comparative assessment of the challenges faced by the solar energy industry in Ethiopia before and during the COVID‐19 pandemic

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Abstract The COVID‐19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on social, economic, and political situations of all countries around the world with no sight to its end. Business sectors such as solar distributors, which have been instrumental in supporting the governments' ambitious universal electrification programs, have been negatively affected by the pandemic. The main aim of this paper is therefore to explore and conduct a comparative assessment before and during the COVID‐19 pandemic of the key challenges of solar‐based businesses in Ethiopia focusing on the distributors and installers and to provide policy recommendations. Qualitative and quantitative assessments were employed during this study. The results show that before the pandemic, finding a skilled workforce, gaining a technical knowledge of the technology, competing in the market, and lack of consumer awareness and initial investment were the key challenges. The importation of solar technologies has been halted by the arrival of the COVID‐19 exacerbating existing challenges and threatening the very existence of the businesses. The impact of the pandemic on income levels of end‐users of solar technologies, together with the lack of sufficient supply of technologies to the businesses, most of the businesses are forced to lay off their employees deepening the unemployment rate and, in some cases, forcing businesses to be closed. These circumstances affect economic development and dents the progress made so far in facilitating energy access to remote communities. To protect these vulnerable but very essential small businesses, necessary interventions are recommended. This article is categorized under: Photovoltaics > Economics and Policy
Sources of solar energy technologies to the region
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Key barriers of the solar energy based businesses
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After sales services
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Key reasons for the growth of solar business
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