Enabling the uptake of solar energy in Nepal
All consumers of EKOenergy-labelled energy contribute to EKOenergy’s Climate Fund. Through our Climate Fund, we finance renewable energy projects in developing countries. This way, EKOenergy helps tackle energy poverty and contributes to the realisation of multiple Sustainable Development Goals.
Earlier this year, we organised an open call for projects and, with the help of an independent jury, we selected the projects that we believed would be the most impactful. We are happy to announce that two more projects are to be financed, the 7th and 8th projects of this year. More will follow in the coming months.
Both of these latest projects are located in Nepal, the poorest country in South Asia and the twelfth poorest country in the world. About 4/5 of the working population live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming for their livelihoods. In these areas the majority of households have little or no access to primary health care, education, clean drinking water and sanitation services. Life is a constant struggle for survival.
Solar energy for agricultural cooperatives
The first of these two projects is a new initiative of Renewable World in Nepal, to which EKOenergy have granted 22,000 euros. Renewable World is a registered UK charity and has reached around 50,000 people globally so far – providing them with access to renewable energy. In South Asia, Renewable World’s focus has been on helping remote communities improve their futures through community-owned renewable energy technologies.
This project focuses on using proven solar water pumping technology, water access and climate-smart agriculture as catalysts for improvement in food security, income generation and sanitation. The project also aims to strengthen agricultural cooperatives, through the use of solar powered agro-processing, a seed bank and a campaign designed to increase nutritional awareness and promote the use of heritage seeds. The project will directly benefit 495 households (2,723 individuals) in five of the poorest and hardest to reach communities in the Achham District. By strengthening the capacity of agricultural cooperatives in the target area, up to 1,730 households (9,146 individuals) will benefit from additional agricultural services.
Solar energy for a health clinic and birthing centre
EKOenergy also grants 20,000 euros to a project of U.S. organisation GRID Alternatives. Since 2008, GRID Alternatives has worked to address critical energy access gaps in communities in Nepal, Nicaragua and Mexico, by bringing solar power to schools, health clinics, homes, farms, orphanages and small businesses. In addition, these projects have also focused on training local residents in the installation and maintenance skills necessary to join these countries’ growing solar industries.
With our support (combined with the support of other donors), GRID Alternatives will be able to install a battery-based, off-grid 14.85 kW solar system at a health clinic and birthing centre in the remote Kanakasundari Rural Municipality of the Jumla District, Nepal. The clinic serves approximately 10,000 residents from surrounding communities and will have a lasting impact on livelihoods in these areas.
Sustainable Development Goals
Both projects have links with many of the Sustainable Development Goals. They improve access to reliable, clean energy (SDG 7), but also help improve food security (SDG 2, in the case of Renewable World’s project) and health services (SDG 3, in the case of GRID Alternatives’ project). The health clinic also offers sexual health education, empowering the women who go there to seek care (SDG 5).
Published on 23 June 2020