Solar mini-grid for rural electrification in Nepal

In 2020 EKOenergy granted 35,000 euros to a project of the Centre for Rural Technology, Nepal (CRT/N). The Siemenpuu Foundation matched our contribution with the same amount. The project focused on the electrification of Saure Bhangtar village through a solar mini-grid and the promotion of renewable energy through Municipal Energy Plans.

This project for the solar electrification of Saure Bhangtar village consisted of 3 components, the first one being the installation of a 10 kWp solar mini-grid in the village. This was complemented by the development of a Municipal Energy Plan (MEP) for the Khanikhola Rural Municipality and the promotion of the MEP at local, provincial and national levels.

The contribution from EKOenergy was used to finance the solar mini-grid system. The village is not connected to the national electricity yet, so the inhabitants either relied on a standalone Solar Home System provided by development organizations following the massive 2015 earthquake in Nepal, or on kerosene lamps.

CRT/N’s project started with an introductory workshop to inform the representatives of the municipality about the solar mini-grid technology. To ensure transparency on the project, a Solar Electrification Program User Committee was formed. The installation of the solar panels and the grid itself was delayed because of Covid but it finally took place at the end of 2021.

Thanks to the mini-grid, 96 households got electricity at home. Each household also got 4 LED bulbs along with 5 LED street lights (10 W). The mini-grid also powers 2 poultry farms, able to raise 100 chickens, and a multi-purpose electric mill, used for hulling and grinding.

By connecting businesses to the grid, CRT/N wants to showcase how access to solar energy can lead to additional income generation and improve food security. This in its turn should make solar energy economically feasible, also in the rural areas of Nepal.

“I cannot express in words the happiness of having a mill in my own community. The mill, merely two steps away from my home, has not only saved my time but also relieved the drudgery associated with milling responsibility. The electric mill is a blessing for us because we have never imagined having a mill in our village. These days, people from other villages are also coming to our village for milling purpose.”

Ek Bahadur Kingring

The mini-grid is designed in a way that it can be connected to the national grid when it expands to that area.

The financed project also included training. Representatives of the beneficiary community were trained to operate, repair and maintain the mini-grid system and the mill. Besides, 16 farmers got additional training on poultry and business development.
CRT/N hopes that this project will inspire many others to switch to solar energy too. EKOenergy is able to support projects such as this one thanks to the users and sellers of EKOenergy-labelled renewables worldwide.

???? For more information about this project, see also the brochure Solar Mini-Grids Electrifying the Rural Community: A case of Khanikhola Rural Municipality, Kavrepalanchowk, Nepal, made by CRT/N.

Published on 26 May 2022