About the author
Wafa Elgarah is an Assistant Professor at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco and Academic Coordinator of the Post-experience Graduate Programs. She holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from University of Central Florida, USA and an MBA in Marketing and Management from University of North Texas, USA. Her research has appeared in outlets such as Data Base for Advances in Information Systems, Communications of the AIS as well as numerous international research conference proceedings. Prior to joining academia, Dr. Elgarah worked in several companies where she played key roles in IT based projects and new products and services marketing initiatives. Her research interests include Decision Support Systems, E-government and Design theories.
About the case study
About two million people live without access to electricity in Morocco, mostly in remote rural areas where scattered and unevenly distributed homes make their connection to the national power grid difficult. As a solution, the National Office of Electricity (ONE) opted for a decentralized system of electrification using renewable energies, and initiated several programs, one of them called Maison Energie (ME).
The program was launched in 1997 with the objectives of providing renewable energy access to remote areas, lowering the use of wood and hence protecting the environment, and creating employment and income generating opportunities in rural areas. A ME (Energy House) is a micro-enterprise that commercializes various forms of solar energy including photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters and ovens in rural and peri-urban areas. Owners of the micro-enterprise are local young entrepreneurs, who also provide installation and maintenance services.
The program is supported by UNDP in collaboration with many partners including the Center for Renewable Energy Development (CDER), the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), ONE and several other private and public organizations and associations involved in selecting, training and supporting these entrepreneurs.
300 self-sustainable MEs were fully operational as of 2009, and there is an estimated potential for 2,000 to 4,000 MEs in both rural and urban areas. In addition, the program has generated about 1,000 permanent jobs and between 3,000-4,000 temporary positions. So far, about 43,000 photovoltaic kits have been installed, and it is estimated that 16,000 photovoltaic installations would result in a savings of 32,000 tonnes of CO2 over 10 years compared to traditional energy sources.