Submitted by: Pragya
Implemented country: India
Title: MVPower: Renewables based Common Energy Facilities for Remote Mountain Villages in the Cold Deserts of the Indian Himalayas
The cold desert of Lahaul & Spiti in the western Himalayas is a harsh expanse of ice-fields and sandy wastelands ringed by snow-clad peaks. Lahaulas & Spitians live in small villages scattered across this terrain, stretching up to altitudes of 16,000 ft. While most villages do have power supply, the bleak winters are frequently power-less as well, and the govt. supplied fuelwood is the mainstay of the people for their cooking & heating needs. The Pragya Appropriate Technology team had been working on development of renewable energy applications for energy-starved Lahaul & Spit and it culminated in the first-ever Solar-Wind Hybrid System (SWHS) to be installed in the area, in the village of Lossar at the altitude of 14,000 ft. Among the potential renewable energy sources in the region, water is scarce and trapped in a frozen form in the winters, while the sun and the wind are available alternately. The SWHS adresses the problem, harnessing one source of renewable energy when the other is in short supply, ensuring power supply at all times. It is also a Common Energy Facility serving to power community welfare facilities and rural enterprises. Lossarites decided that the SWHS would be applied for electrification of a rural library, a weaving centre, etc. The system has a capacity of 2.1 kW, comprising 14 solar PV panels, generating 1.0 kW, and a windmill generating 1.1 kW. The SWHS can supply power for 4 hrs/day for 2 days when there is no power generation. Today the SWHS lights a rural library serving 60 households and a weaving centre used by 16 women to weave local carpets and shawls to sell to summer visitors, and thus earn from it.