Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Why do low-income urban dwellers reject energy technologies? Exploring the socio-cultural acceptance of solar adoption in Mumbai and Cape Town

Haque, Anika Nasra, Lemanski, Charlotte, de Groot, Jiska (2021) Why do low-income urban dwellers reject energy technologies? Exploring the socio-cultural acceptance of solar adoption in Mumbai and Cape Town. Energy Research & Social Science, 74 . Article Number 101954. E-ISSN 2214-6296. (doi:10.1016/j.erss.2021.101954) (KAR id:86532)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English
Download this file
[thumbnail of Accepted manuscript_ERSS_Haque et al. 2021.pdf]
Request a format suitable for use with assistive technology e.g. a screenreader
PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of Haque et al. 2021.pdf]
Official URL:


In the global context of reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards sustainable modes of urban infrastructure, strategies that provide decentralized access to renewable energy technologies for the urban poor are increasingly promoted. However, while innovative energy technologies are introduced in order to support global targets for sustainability and service-delivery while also directly benefiting low-income households (e.g. by reducing the monetary costs of energy), there is widespread evidence that low-income urban dwellers do not always readily accept these technologies. Typically, the urban poor are blamed for failing to adopt new technologies, with little consideration for underlying socio-cultural causes. Using examples drawn from qualitative research in low-income settlements in Mumbai and Cape Town, this paper demonstrates the role of socio-cultural attitudes and practices in affecting social acceptance of domestic solar energy interventions. Focusing specifically on perceptions of normality and practices of social capital, both of which are connected to collective social influence, the paper reveals how these concepts affect the socio-cultural acceptance of new energy technologies amongst low-income urban dwellers in the global South. Furthermore, we argue that adopting a socio-cultural perspective is a crucial, but often overlooked, aspect of scholarly and policy analyses of, and strategies for, energy transitions in the global South.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.erss.2021.101954
Uncontrolled keywords: Energy transitions, Socio-cultural, Social acceptance, Normality, Social capital, Technology diffusion, Attitudes and perceptions, Mumbai, Cape Town
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Signature Themes: Food Systems, Natural Resources and Environment
Depositing User: Anika Haque
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2021 19:40 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 12:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.