International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Solar Energy and its potential to advance gender- sensitive planning in rural areas


Iran has a very high level of per capita energy use (estimated to be 80% above other Middle East countries). That reality is primarily due to the high fossil fuel subsidies currently provided to consumers and businesses. Iran’s diverse and abundant renewable energy resources have the potential to increase energy access throughout the entire country while also providing tangible benefits for isolated rural communities and particularly local women. Despite the high potential of renewable energy (RE) physical resources available in most rural areas, the implementation of RE systems remains a novel strategy. The few RE projects that have been implemented, mainly  by government projects, are gender biased as they are excluding females from  such projects by focusing just on males for training, financial support, and prioritizing them for  job opportunities. This article uses a gender-sensitive focus to analyze the potential that RE technologies in general and solar energy initiatives in particular can have to advance human living conditions in Iran’s isolated rural areas. More specifically, our analysis focuses on strategies to empower local women to harness advanced solar technologies for energy retailing, storage, and demand-side and supply chain management, which have been used in a rural project called Barekat-e-Aftab. The paper also analyses the performance and replication prospects emanating from the Barekat-e-Aftab Solar Project.