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The potential of photovoltaics in developing countries is enormous.
In these countries, where roughly 2 billion people live without electricity, the advantages of photovoltaics technology can be fully recognized. In most of these developing countries, there is a very large amount of available solar energy that is well spread out geographically and, is therefore, simultaneously available in various places. Solar modules usage makes energy production in the immediate proximity of energy consumption, possible. This is a particular advantage; the problem of unavoidable transportation and distribution costs is solved. It is another advantage over generators powered by fossil fuel, as well as concerning the expansion of the electricity network. The electrification of rural areas in developing countries is an important market segment for photovoltaics: typical applications are lighting, telecommunication, cooling devices and water pumps.
The biggest obstacles that photovoltaics faces outside of technical issues are: the lack of a local infrastructure and educated specialists, financing, administrative obstacles, etc. Investments made by international organizations, governments, and private businesses as well as a great number of foreign aid organizations in developing countries over the last 20 years have not yet been able to attain the goal of offering a lasting means of supplying electricity to the 2 billion people, who still live without electricity. Today, one often assumes that an independent local photovoltaic market situated near the end user is a better solution to use in order to reach this goal.
Platform PV EZA / REPIC

A platform "Photovoltaics in International Cooperation" (PV EZA) was created in order to better promote photovoltaics in the area of international cooperation by means of setting up a network of private and public stakeholders, improving the information exchange and stimulating PV projects involving Swiss stakeholders. The platform was supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and accompanied by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE),
The project PV EZA ended in December 2003 (click here to download the annual report.)


The REPIC platform was created by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) in 2004, and replaced PV EZA.
The REPIC-Platform ( contributes to the implementation of global climate protection agreements and to a sustainable energy supply in developing and transition countries, as well as in Switzerland, and represents an important part in the implementation of the Swiss policy for sustainable development at the international level.
This structure (accompanying instruments, common budget) is a shared commitment from the 4 federal offices in the international cooperation field and represents a new, innovative form of interdepartmental cooperation.
REPIC is designed to be a market oriented service centre for the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency in international cooperation. Taking current experience into account, this platform should make new concrete renewable energy and energy efficiency projects with increasing participation of Swiss companies and organisations possible.

Further information can be found at :


Publications, documents and events in relation with photovoltaics and the international cooperation
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