February 17-24: Solarizing the Green Tower in Bardia National Park, Nepal with RES

In February 2019, 11 RES employees joined GRID in Nepal's Bardia National Park to install solar on the Green Tower, an off-grid wildlife observation tower and ecotourism accommodation. With access to reliable, clean electricity, the Green Tower is expected to see a significant increase in the number of overnight guests, creating employment opportunities and generating additional income to bolster conservation efforts and livelihoods in the local community.

Bardia National Park protects one of the last surviving of Nepal’s subtropical lowland or Terai ecosystems. It serves as an important refuge for the Bengal Tiger and is home to one of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros, among countless other endemic species. The four-story tower is located near the Madela village of Thakurdwara Municipality, and within the Bathanpur Community Forest Bufferzone, which is a large area esablished between the boundaries of the park and the surrounding village that helps preserve resources and wildlife in the park.  

The Green Tower is managed by the Bathanpur Community Forest User Group, and was built in 2016 with funds provided by the Nepal Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). With RES's sponsorship of the installation of a solar PV system, the Green Tower now has a source of clean, reliable electricity to power security spotlights, fans, lights, AC power outlets, and a water pump that can provide running water around the clock. Paired with a growing number of tourists coming to Bardia National Park, enhancing the Green Tower's accomodations is expected to significantly increase the number of overnight guests, which will increase the revenue generated by the User Group to put towards livelihood and conservation initiatives, hiring additional staff to manage Tower, and continued funding to employ two women committee members who are tasked with patrolling the Bufferzone and enforcing resource use policies within the Bufferzone. 

RES employees came together from their offices across the globe to work alongside GRID Alternatives staff and Nepali solar company Gham Power to install the system from start-to-finish. While participating in this hands-on installation experience, employees shared with the local community, stayed in homestays, learned about Nepali culture and community-centered sustainable development, and engaged in discussions on energy access, conservation challenges, and gender and development. Before and after the project, the team had the opportunity to explore Kathmandu and Bardia National Park, and had the great fortune of spotting a bengal tiger in its natural habitat in Bardia! See photos from the installation and read one employee's personal account of the experience.

Corporate sponsorships are critical in enabling GRID to bring the benefits of solar- financial savings, job opportunities, and a clean, renewable energy source- to families and communities that would not otherwise have access. Learn more about becoming a corporate sponsor for our international projects

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