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In this chapter, we shall study the role of institutions in clean energy transitions in developing countries. Renewable energy (RE) for electricity generation has been proposed as a way to bridge the gap between affordable and clean-energy infrastructure. We shall examine the drivers of past and planned solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity-capacity expansion in eight African countries during a period of rapidly falling technology costs. The countries in our sample that experienced RE expansion do not have liberalized market-oriented electricity sectors, and many provide only limited policy support. Careful cross-case comparisons point to a set of financing, political/regulatory, value capture and technical capabilities that may help to explain RE outcomes. Although these findings are specific to the group of African countries we studied, they may hold lessons for other settings in the ‘second wave’ of RE development.
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