Solar Microgrid in Dhapchung, Nepal

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY

Dhapchung is a small village in the mountainous terrain of Sindhupalchok, one of the least developed districts of Nepal. The remote village is several hours walking from the nearest road. The community was heavily affected by the 2015 earthquakes and is still on the road to recovery. The residents of Dhapchung are Tamang, an ethnic group indigenous to the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. Most are subsistence farmers who grow crops on the terraced hillsides. Many families in Dhapchung have relied on expensive, unreliable, and toxic non-renewable energy sources for their lighting and cooking.


ABOUT THE PROJECT

In September 2016, volunteers and staff from GRID and partner organizations Gham Power and Digo Bikas Institute arrived in the remote village of Dhapchung after a long, bumpy bus ride and a trek up the hillside, a trip that took 15 hours total! We received a warm welcome from Dhapchung community members upon our arrival, and spent the next four days immersed in the village, getting to know and working alongside its 200 residents.

Together, we completed the installation of a 16kW solar microgrid, wired the battery bank and the inverters and charge controllers, installed pre-pay meters on the power poles and connected them to breakers in each house. When it was finished, we flipped the switch and celebrated as the system came on in Dhapchung.  

While in the village, we enjoyed playing with the kids, who brought us flowers and led us around the foot paths; eating local cucumbers and drinking buffalo milk inside family homes; attending a Women’s Group meeting; and seeing the stunning view from the mountaintop each morning. The generosity and kindness of the people in Dhapchung warmed our hearts.

Electricity will provide a safer, more affordable lighting option for homes; give students and teachers access to the internet and other electronic resources to accelerate their learning; charge cell phones and other devices cheaply and locally; and provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful. 

Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and partners and your generosity, the community now has an unprecedented level of connectivity and opportunity. We look forward to seeing how clean, reliable electricity serves residents in the coming years.

We are extremely grateful to Gham PowerDigo Bikas InstituteEmpower GenerationBeyul Treks & Travel, and Nepal WirelessGRID Alternatives volunteers, the Dhapchung community, and all of our supporters for making this project a success. Thank you!

You can see photos from the project here. See our upcoming international volunteer opportunities to travel with purpose and join GRID in bringing solar to rural communities like Dhapchung! 



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ABOUT THE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS

Our experience in Nicaragua has taught us that community partnerships are key to successful projects. GRID partnered with the Digo Bikas Institute, a local research and advocacy organization with deep roots in the area, to select the community and engage them in the project from the very beginning.

The solar micro-grid was installed in partnership with local solar company Gham Power. Gham Power’s smart solar design, technical expertise, and track record of successful and sustainable rural electrification projects made them a great partner for GRID’s Power Up Nepal project.

To further extend the impact of this project, GRID Alternatives partnered with Empower Generation to implement a solar lighting program that engages women in the Sindhupalchok region in selling solar lights to surrounding communities.

This project demonstrates how a rural micro-grid can be implemented in a sustainable way, providing reliable, high-quality clean energy 24 hours a day and catalyzing the long-term economic development of the community.


LEARN MORE

Solar for Sustainable Development
One year after the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal, there is still great need in Dhapchung. Lacking access to electricity, families in Dhapchung have relied on expensive, unreliable, and toxic non-renewable energy sources for their lighting and cooking. Read the full story here

 

Powering Women Entrepreneurs
In many developing communities, women spend hours each day retrieving wood for cooking and kerosene for lighting. They are disproportionately exposed to the toxic fumes from these fuels. What if women could gain back productive hours, expand energy access, and earn an income all at once? Read the full story here

 

Solar Micro-Grids for Rural Electrification
Community-based solar micro-grids have great potential to contribute to development, yet few rural micro-grid models exist that are self-sustaining and meet the long-term needs of beneficiaries. We're on a mission to change that. Read the full story here. 

 

You Can Make a Difference
The village of Dhapchung, Nepal may seem worlds away from where you sit right now. Thanks to Chris Fearon, a dedicated volunteer and supporter of GRID, Dhapchung feels much closer. Read the full story here.

 

 

Contact us for more information about our trips!