Nepal Energy for Education Solar Project

 

Location: Matela, Surkhet District, Nepal

Type:
  • Solar

Status: Commissioned in 2013

Project Leader: Duke Energy

Key results

  • Two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (6.7 kW) installed at two schools in the remote village of Matela in western Nepal, where no access to electricity previously existed
  • Launched a computer program in the two rural schools and evening classes for the surrounding community
  • Distributed small solar home systems (SSHS) to all residents of Matela, minimizing the use kerosene lamps and substantially improving living conditions
  • Total of 10.6 kW of clean solar energy is now available to residents of Matela from the installed PV systems and the SSHS program
  • Proven, successful, and replicable model of sustainable development that uses solar energy as the basis to improve education services in remote rural regions of Nepal

Location: Matela, Surkhet District, Nepal

Type:
  • Solar

Status: Commissioned in 2013

Project Leader: Duke Energy

The Energy for Education solar systems provide much-needed electricity and lighting to two local schools in the remote village of Matela in western Nepal. We installed two solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (total 6.7 kW) at the Malika U Ma Vi and Rastriya Ma Vi Schools, substantially improving the quality of education for over 700 students. The solar systems at the schools also provide energy to operate a new computer room at the Malika U Ma Vi School and two computers at the Rastriya Ma Vi School. Both schools now offer new reading and writing classes to adult residents.

As part of the project, we also distributed small solar home systems (SSHS) to students and residents of Matela. Clean, portable lamps allow students to do their homework after dusk and provide residents with a cleaner source of lighting for their homes. Solar lamps have now replaced kerosene lamps, significantly reducing health hazards such as burns and toxic fume inhalation. In total, approximately 10.6 kW of clean solar energy is now available to the residents of Matela.

We designed the project to be financially sustainable by charging a small fee for the use of the SSHS –comparable to that already paid by residents for kerosene lamps– and for participation in the computer program, ensuring sufficient funds for the operation and general maintenance of the equipment. We determined the fees with the local partners following a survey of local residents, taking into account participant’s ability to pay.

To ensure the systems’ sustainability, we conducted a technical training workshop on stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) systems from December 10-14, 2012 in Kathmandu, Nepal to provide the technical training for the operation and maintenance crew, and to current and future implementers of solar PV technology in Nepal. A total of 29 participants attended the workshop, including staff from the Beautiful Nepal Association (BNA), energy and environment officers from 15 different districts in Nepal, representatives from the beneficiary schools, from Kathmandu University, and from the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) of the Nepalese government.

This project is a pilot for the Nepalese education system, demonstrating that solar energy can be used to provide electricity to improve education services in rural regions. The Nepalese government’s AEPC has expressed interest in replicating the project in other regions in the country, and our technical workshop has ensured that there is now stronger, local capacity to do so.

The proposal for this project came from our 2009 scholarship recipient, Niraj Subedi. Niraj pursued his master’s studies in environmental and energy management at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and he worked to develop the feasibility study of the project. 

 

"It feels good to see computers in the school. We can now get information about the world with the computer and learn new things. Before, there was no electricity but now we have it. Before, we could not start class early in the morning because we had to wait until there was light. But now the lights are installed, we can start and finish whenever we like, even when it is dark! At home we used to read with our diyalo [traditional kerosene lamp] and it was very hard to study at night, but now we have good lights and it is very comfortable while reading. I can even help my parents learn to read!"

Purna kala Regmi, student at Malika U Ma Vi School, Class 10

Participating members and partners

  • Duke Energy
  • Kansai Electric Power
  • Beautiful Nepal Association (BNA)
  • Malika U Ma Vi School
  • Rastriya Ma Vi School
  • Matela VDC government
  • Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC), Government of Nepal
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