Stories from SoLAR

“IWMI’s SoLAR project facilitates us to set up grid connections for distributed generation and a reliable power supply” 

Asha Khanal, Asha Khanal, Energy Efficiency and Loss Reduction Department, Nepal Electricity Authority
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is the sole electricity distributor in Nepal. Its goal is to generate, transmit and distribute electricity to different consumers all over Nepal. The generation of electricity in Nepal is season-specific. In the wet season, power generation from existing hydro can fulfill the demand. In contrast, in the dry season, NEA has to buy electricity via cross-border trading from India to meet its domestic market. So, in the dry season, renewable energy like solar, and particularly grid-connected solar, plays a crucial role. IWMI’s SoLAR project facilitates us to set up grid connections for distributed generation and a reliable power supply. Also, the surplus solar power can return to the grid via net metering provision.
SDC-IWMI SoLAR Project Builds Institutional Capacity for Micro-Grid Connected Solar Pumps through Knowledge Partnership
A delegation of 13 members from Nepal visited Gujarat to see the micro-grid-connected agricultural feeders under the Gujarat Government’s SKY scheme. This exposure visit led to some new learnings for NEA and local governments in Nepal working towards expanding and strengthening solar electricity generation through solar. Ms Jeniya Shakya intern at IWMI-SoLAR, Nepal – interviewed Mr Ambuj Ahmed and Mr Bhulan Sah, Junior Technical Assistants at the Chhipaharmai Municipality. The conversation points out how the knowledge transferred through the exposure visit has influenced the municipality’s future course of action for grid-connected solar irrigation pumps.


SoLAR Innovation Fund Grantee Gham Power’s Ambitious Move To Promote Solar Power
Over the first two quarters, the project made meaningful progress towards meeting the initial objectives, despite the ongoing global pandemic, socio-economic challenges and restrictions on mobility. For social mobilization, 45 field agents have been trained across three microfinance locations. In addition, several virtual training and engagement activities are being conducted to provide agri-advisory services. Training events have been planned for over fifty agents across more than ten locations and would be implemented once movement restrictions are eased. To enhance agri-advisory services, Gham Power is testing 25 agri-sensors and expanding the advisory database.


SoLAR Innovation Fund Grantee KARMA’s Foldable Solar Panels and Mobile Pumps set to invigorate rural water markets.
KARMA aims to provide a portable solar pump using Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) based
light-weight and a flexible solar panel that is affordable and scalable. The company has already made customized solar panels at Filsom, and in April 2021, the panels arrived in India. Initial testing of the panels with their solar micropump has been carried out, and they expect the first set of pumps (0.5-2 HP) to be installed in the field by June 30, 2021. Additionally, they have identified at least four partners to implement the first four Mobile URJA sets. KARMA further intends to collect data to understand the present model’s total uses, pros, and cons for improving the product. Then, based on feedback from the industrial partner, Flisom will manufacture the remaining sets of CIGS panels. Shown below are snapshots of the prototype that is being demonstrated at various places in Odisha.
SoLAR Innovation Fund Grantee KHM’s innovation helps use space underneath solar panels to set up poultry and fish farming by women farmers.
Bangladesh has very limited land and a high population density. So, judicious use of land is essential. Keeping the land constraint in mind, the project is designed so that chicken, duck, and cattle rearing can be taken up under solar sheds. There is also an added provision for fish farming within the vicinity of the project. The project employs a couple, where the husband works on the solar irrigation project, and the wife is employed for the rearing of chickens. The couple is given accommodation near the pump house with access to sanitation and cooking facilities. This poultry farming project will enable KHM Power Limited to enhance its income stream and utilize the space below the panels for productive purposes.
SoLAR Innovation Fund Grantee PARC’s Initiative To Improve Livelihoods Through Responsive Drip Irrigation.
Livelihood Improvement of fragile and vulnerable communities through ‘Energy and Water-Efficient Responsive Drip Irrigation Systems’ by the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) aims to enhance the resilience and livelihood of small-scale, marginal communities and women farmers. Under this project, RDI systems are being tested by piloting water-scarce areas for vegetable and horticulture production. Under this, the IF grantee PARC will further integrate RDI with a clean and efficient solar pumping system. In addition, these research cum learning sites will demonstrate the novel concept to the farmers, policymakers, and governmental and non-governmental organizations for its adoption and upscaling.
SoLAR Innovation Fund Grantee SwitchON’s Mini Solar Pumps for Women Farmers.
Under the project titled ‘Mini Solar Pumps for Women Farmers’ or MSP4WF, SwitchON Foundation aims to increase the uptake and adoption of small pumps among small and marginal women farmers. A Revolving Guarantee Fund (RGF) has been set up with RBL Bank to negate plausible risks and give guarantees to banks on behalf of ‘unbankable’ customers, especially women who do not possess lands in their names. Fourteen sensitization programmes and exposure visits have been conducted with 140 women farmers to increase awareness of solar pumps. In these exposure visits, the women farmers witnessed real-life changes after adopting solar pumps among other farmers.

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