Rural areas lack sustainable electrification solutions. Although solar solutions hold promise, they are fundamentally constrained by high maintenance costs (due to low user densities, equipment failure, poor handling) and a complete lack of accountability. In this paper, we describe our experiences deploying more than 5,000 Solar Home Systems in Ethiopia and the sustainability problems we faced. Towards developing a decentralized and sustainable solar solution, we have designed SIMbaLink, an extremely low-cost real-time solar monitoring system that significantly reduces both the maintenance costs and the time to repair. By explicitly exposing the real-time status of a solar system to all parties concerned, SIMbaLink addresses the lack of accountability and trust concerns. SIMbaLink can be easily integrated with existing solar systems and can reduce equipment failure rates through early detection of system malfunctions.