Of China’s ten poverty-alleviation projects, its development of photovoltaic-based solar power has been one of the most successful. We suggest that other countries look more explicitly at solar energy as a way of generating income in rural areas, in accord with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate global poverty by 2030.
China’s overall programme has lifted more than 50 million rural people out of poverty since 2013 (Y. Zhou et al. Land Use Policy 74, 53–65; 2018). Solar-energy schemes launched in 2014 supplied 7.9 gigawatts of power by the end of 2017, directly benefiting some 800,000 poverty-stricken families (see go.nature.com/2jtdxjh; in Chinese). In Lixin county in central China, for example, solar installations provided an additional annual income of more than 3,000 yuan (around US$440) for every family.
Solar-power facilities provide employment opportunities, boost farmers’ incomes and supply households with affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, thus also helping to alleviate energy poverty.
Nature 560, 29 (2018)