Impact pathways of photovoltaic poverty alleviation in China: evidence from a systematic review

Fubin Huang, Wenjing Li*, Shan Jin, Meng Yue, Chuanmin Shuai, Xin Cheng, Yu Shuai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Photovoltaic poverty alleviation (PVPA), an innovative and unique policy in China aiming at green development and poverty alleviation, has attracted increasing attention from both the public and government. It is therefore useful to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of PVPA and its policy implication. By means of a systematic review, this study constructed the expected causal chain of PVPA based on the Theory of Change (TOC), and verified the extent to which the causality matches the existing 44 literature on China's PVPA from English and Chinese scholarly databases. Results indicate that the identification of PVPA targets is generally accurate, but the annual revenue of 3,000 yuan per household cannot be fully guaranteed. The beneficiaries of PVPA cover individuals/households, villages/communities and counties/areas, and there are positive effects on income, employment, local capability building, industrial development, carbon emissions reduction, environmental and energy consciousness and living environment. However, excessive investment inhibits the promotion efficiency of poverty alleviation, and the causality between PVPA and energy transition needs strong evidence. We emphasize a comprehensive evaluation in the pilot period to avoid widespread disorder among different departments, which claims for high governance capacity and more attention to the households’ sense of gain. Policymakers should give full consideration to the participation of poor households to provoke their initiative out of poverty and design systematic policies with diversified livelihood strategies for the poor to fight against the multi-dimensional poverty. Moreover, the characteristics of the poor and their external living environment need to be taken into account to formulate targeted policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-717
Number of pages13
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Early online date15 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • impact pathways
  • photovoltaic poverty alleviation (PVPA)
  • renewable energy
  • sustainable development
  • systematic review
  • the theory of change (TOC)


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