AEPC financed solar irrigation pumps in Nepal

The Government of Nepal (GoN) has been supporting the promotion and development of Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs). To date, Nepal has approximately 1,600 SIPs, 75% of which have been financed and installed by AEPC, and the remainder by a number of NGOs and INGOs such as IDE, ICIMOD, Winrock, and Practical Action.
Until the start of the 13th Plan (2013-2016), the use of solar energy for irrigation and drinking water was limited to hilly and remote areas. The 13th Plan incorporated ideas for solar energy for irrigation in the Terai. In the 2018-19 budget, the central government allocated NPR 350 million (~USD 3.5 million) as grants for SIPs and pledged additional support to renewable energy production if initiated by cooperatives and local communities in collaboration with the local government.
The 14th Plan also initiated a subsidy for solar drinking water and irrigation systems at the individual, community, and institutional (i.e., private sector) levels. The AEPC—our main partner in SoLAR project, is the main institution responsible for the implementation of the Renewable Energy Subsidy Policy, 2016.
In addition to the AEPC, a number of government organizations are working to promote and implement SIP projects in Nepal. The majority of solar projects have been implemented in provinces 2, 3, and 4. The private sector plays a very important role in Nepal, given that the subsidy delivery modality is driven by the private sector.
Documents Reports Journals/ Articles

SETI 2024 Annual Workshop, titled “Can Fee for Service Model for Micro Solar Irrigation Pumps Be Scalable and Sustainable?” was held on June 18, 2024. Shisher Shrestha led the discussion, focusing on policy research related to energy for development. The workshop explored the potential for scalability and sustainability of a fee-for-service model for micro solar irrigation pumps.


IWMI participates in GIZ – Green Skills Workshop
Green Skills: Qualifying Professionals for Work in the SOLAR PV Sector” was organized by GIZ POSTED on January 26, 2024, to highlight the importance of local technicians for sustainable operation of Solar Irrigation Pumps. Shisher Sreshtha, National Researcher rom IWMI Nepal participated as a panelist in that workshop and highlighted AEPC and IWMI’s role in consolidating knowledge products and training materials to produce government endorsed certification courses to ensure sustainability. The panel discussion focused on the perspective of development programs (i) One-off trainings vs. institutional training offerings (ii) Capacity development needs of the next 5 years and (iii) The role of AEPC and training providers for making training offerings in the solar PV sustainable.
Knowledge Forum on Transformative actions for Inclusive and sustainable water management in Nepal
The Nepal National Water and Weather Week organized by IWMI Nepal on March 17, 2024, celebrates the World Water Day (WWD) and World Meterological Day (WMD) to raise awareness about sustainable water management and encourage discussions on water-related issues and climate action in Nepal. At the forum, Shisher Shrestha made a presentation on “Learnings from Grid-connected Solar Irrigation Pilot” where he presented preliminary findings from the SoLAR Grid-connected Solar Irrigation pilot in Chhipaharmai Rural Municipality in Parsa.
IWMI advocacy leads to signing of Net Metering Agreement with Nepal Electricity Authority
With constant advocacy by IWMI under SoLAR Project, the Net-metering Agreement got signed between Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Pokhariya and Surya Urja Krishak Samuha in Chhipaharmai on February 26, 2024. Under net metering, the power utility body takes accountability of 90% of bill amount, and 10% is what the consumer pays to NEA. Surplus electricity is fed to the national grid, which is an advantage in terms of optimal utilization of resources minimizing the risk of abundant energy being unused. The connection to the national grid exhibits farmers’ year-round irrigation supply despite weather constraints. Net metering is crucial for encouraging citizens to produce clean energy from solar power. In the long-run, net metering ensures energy security in the country. This is one of the major achievements for the project, paving the way for other projects exploring grid-connected solar irrigation.
Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA)-Cereals Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) GW Symposium

On 18 March a Groundwater Symposium was organized at Hotel Aloft, Kathmandu by Centre of Research for Environment, Energy and Water (CREEW), The Small Earth Nepal (SEN), and the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVSWMB) in association with 22 national and international organizations focused on exploring the ‘Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development and Management of Groundwater’. The event showcased sessions on strengthening groundwater governance in Southeast Asia, navigating emerging socio-hydrologies in Nepal, innovative approaches to address groundwater challenges, and inclusive groundwater development in Nepal. Shisher Srestha presented on the topic Energy technologies for pumped Groundwater Irrigation – Spread, opportunity, and challenges in Nepal. The session was hosted by TAFSSA-CSISA and was a part of Session 1: Knowing Groundwater: the socio-eco-technological context in Nepal. The presentation highlighted that Nepal is gradually moving away from fossil fuel-based irrigation to more sustainable energy sources such as solar and grid.
Climate resilience and sustainable water management: IWMI Nepal’s active engagement at COP28
IWMI Nepal’s active involvement at COP 28, led by Dr. Manohara Khadka, Country Representative of IWMI Nepal, made significant contributions to the discourse on climate resilience and sustainable water management. The side events held on the 9th and 10th of December brought together experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to explore the intricate interplay of water, energy, food, and ecosystems in addressing the challenges posed by climate change in South Asia. As a panelist in another four side-events, Khadka shared IWMI’s research experience and knowledge about interconnected links between water and climate change, and the role of water in climate change adaptation and mitigation. Speakers at the COP28 side event spoke about comprehensive strategies for South Asia to prepare for emerging climate risks
SoLAR Grid-connected SIP pilot presented in Asia Sector-specific Meet: Agriculture and Food Security
Shisher Shrestha made a virtual presentation in the Asia Sector-specific Meet (Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security) on March 31, 2023. Titled Opportunities and Challenges for Grid-connected Solar Irrigation in Nepal – Lessons from SoLAR Pilot Project, he highlighted the emissions due to diesel irrigation pumps and mentioned the findings that say that diesel pump consumes 13,870 m3 (kl). Shrestha presented the summary of findings from the impact evaluation studies conducted as part of the SoLAR-SA project. The evaluation study found that the impacts were mostly positive for SIP farmers since there was a strong reduction in the use of diesel pumps for SIP farmers compared to non-SIP farmers; SIP owners tend to devote more land to vegetables and SIP farmers earn 10% more revenue compared to non-SIP farmers. The presentation focussed on opportunities that exist for grid-connected Solar irrigation – a) reduces e-waste by utilizing out-of-warranty and abandoned systems b) is a dual source of clean energy for improved irrigation for farmers c) improved Capacity Utilization of SIPs d) potential to increase energy consumption in the agriculture sector for NEA d) localized generation from Solar will improve the grid voltage, reduce strain on the grid’s infrastructure and minimize transmission loss. The hurdles for implementing the grid-connected solar irrigation pilot were identified so the implementation process is not clear; and, there is a lack of policy for grid-connected solar irrigation, hence, awareness and capacity-building is needed at the local level (LG and NEA), etc. Also, no clear-cut direction on who should lead the implementation of grid-connected SIP projects – NEA, AEPC, Local government or the Farmer User Group – is there.
Innovation Fund Grantee Workshop and Coordination for Micro-Grid Pilot
Between the 20th and 23rd of February, a three-member team from SoLAR –Nepal travelled to Chitwan and Parsa to monitor a workshop held by Ghampower, a SoLAR IF grantee, in Chitwan and to coordinate procurement and implementation of the micro-grid pilot with Nepal Electricity Authority, Pokhariya. Mr Zarrif Hussen, an ex-official of APEC..
The Director of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Nepal deliberates on recommendations by IWMI
The Executive Director of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Mr Madhusudhan Adhikari, convened a meeting, with researchers..
Training of Technicians on Solar Water Pumping Systems – Nepal
In order to improve the technical knowledge and capacity of local technicians and engineers on solar water pumping systems, Pathibhara..
The IWMI-Nepal team visits two Municipalities to select sites for the SIP micro-grid connection pilot
The predominant model in Nepal is stand-alone off-grid solar irrigation pumps (SIPs). These SIPs reduce the use of dirty diesel fuel to a large extent..
Feasibility Studies Prove Chhipaharmai Rural Municipality As Potential Pilot Site
As the country slowly opened up after a disturbing second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, IWMI conducted a survey at two sites in Nepal Tarai..
IWMI Nepal Conducts Field Visits to Explore GESI Impact of SIPs
IWMI Nepal researchers conducted a 6-day field trip to explore the GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) impact of SIP models from November 12-17, 2021.
SIP Training Imparted to Technicians in Saptari and Rautahat
With the rising popularity of Solar Irrigation Pumps (SIPs) among farmers, the installations of the same have been gaining momentum over the years.
Letter of Intent Signed between 4 Parties in Nepal
A Letter of Intent (LoI) has been signed between Chhipaharmai Rural Municipality, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) to support the SoLAR project in Nepal.






Contact information

Shisher Shrestha (Country Lead- Nepal)
National Researcher- Renewable Energy, Water & Climate Change

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