Sponsored Project: Community micro-grid in Chatang, Nuwakot, Nepal with Northland Controls

Chatang is a village development committee (VDC) Nuwakot District, in the Bagmati Zone of Central Nepal, northeast of Kathmandu.
Chatang is a village development committee (VDC) of the Nuwakot District, in central Nepal. There are 9 wards within the Chatang VDC. Despite neighboring the capital district of Kathmandu, the Nuwakot region is not as developed and lacks essential infrastructure. The remote community is at least 3 hours walking from the nearest road. The residents of Chatang are part of the Tamang ethnic group and Lama clan, indigenous to the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. Most families are subsistence farmers who grow crops on the terraced hillsides. 

There are 60 existing households in Chatang, and there are future plans to build 20 additional homes for a total of 80. Three of these households are already running small shops out oftheir homes, and other families have expressed interest in starting small businesses out of their homes once they have access to reliable electricity through solar. Women in the community tend to do the daily water collection and gather wood for fuel, and men undertake much of the agricultural work. 

In Chatang, there is no access to the national electric grid, but some homes have very small stand-alone 20W or 100W solar home systems that were distributed as part of a government program at a subsidized rate of 50%.
In Chatang, there is no access to the national electric grid, but some homes have very small stand-alone 20W or 100W solar home systems that were distributed as part of a government program at a subsidized rate of 50%. While the small solar home systems have been useful, the government agency is not there to assist with ongoing system maintenance, and the cost of replacement parts like batteries is not subsidized. Other sources of energy include flashlights and kerosene oil lamps, which are expensive, unreliable, and toxic non-renewable energy sources for lighting and cooking. Like in Chatang, solar has a presence in some of Nepal’s rural regions, where you might see small systems like these dangling from rooftops that likewise are part of the government program. There is no incentive for the original installers to maintain such small systems in hard to reach rural villages. A micro-grid is a better option to power the community, providing energy for basic needs and very essential infrastructure, such as lighting, communication, healthcare, and local revenue generation.

Community-based solar micro-grids have great potential to contribute to development around the world. Yet today, few rural micro-grid models exist that are self-sustaining and meet the long-term needs of beneficiaries. In addition to clean, reliable lighting, a community micro-grid in Chatang has potential to create employment opportunities for local residents and catalyze the area as a small market center for travelers along the popular Goshaikunda trekking route. "Anchor loads," local enterprises that use power to provide a product or service to the community, have proven key to project success and sustainability. The solar micro-grid is designed with these objectives in mind, and will be installed in partnership with local solar company Gham Power

In Chatang, most residents are subsistence farmers who grow their crops on the terraced hillsides.
Residents and businesses will pre-pay for electricity from the solar micro-grid through a smart meter, which allows them to track their electricity usage and avoid using more electricity than they can afford. During daylight hours, the system produces more energy than the community consumes, and the surplus energy can be stored in the battery bank, enabling electricity usage at night. Electricity through a solar micro-grid will provide a safer, more affordable lighting option for homes; enable students to accelerate their learning; allow residents to charge cell phones and other devices cheaply and locally; and provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with the energy they need to be successful. 

Due to a severe landslide that cut through Chatang in mid-September 2018, the installation of the community micro-grid has been postponed from October until later in 2018 or early 2019. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the event, but 11 homes were destroyed as a result of the landslide, and the entire community has temporarily re-located to a neighboring village until it is safe to return to Chatang and begin rebuilding what was lost. Once it is safe to do so, GRID staff and GRID partner, Gham Power, will complete the installation of the micro-grid in Chatang, which will not only provide energy for basic needs and essential infrastructure, but provide energy to power tools that will greatly bolster and accelrate rebuilding efforts following the recent landslide. 

This project is sponsored by Northland Controls, and their support is making it possible to bring a micro-grid to the Chatang community. While Northland Controls employees will no longer be participating in the installation of the micro-grid itself as a result of the landslide, 23 Northland Controls employees will now be traveling to the Gorkha District of Nepal to bring solar to the Shree Dumre Secondary School of Palungtar. Learn more. 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. 

Sponsor our International Program!

Show your company’s support for clean energy and poverty alleviation. You can sponsor a project, send employees on a trip to Nicaragua or Nepal with us, or make a donation.

Contact us for more information about our trips!