Grid Connected Solar PV Project Rational

/about/P1 Solar PV array.jpgNepal’s national grid is powered solely by hydro power. Since the early 90’s Nepal has an average annual electricity growth demand of around 10%. But, as less than 1% of its actual economic feasible hydro potential has thus far been tapped into, electricity growth demand has overtaken Nepal’s hydro capacity connected to the grid. Thus, Nepal has experienced load shedding throughout its national electricity grid since the year 2000, with no electricity for the people living in the capitol, Kathmandu, between 6 - 20 hours per day, dependent on the season and availability of water. However, the Kathmandu Valley has a good solar radiation resource of 4.5 – 5.5 kWh/m2 per day, to generate electricity with solar PV systems and feed it into the grid. But thus far this valuable and free renewable energy resource has not been tapped into to support the national grid.

P3 Inverter and Battery Bank back-up.jpgBased on the encouraging results of a recent (2009 – 2010) conducted feasibility study on grid connected solar PV plants in Nepal, carried out by the same project team, the present project aims to start utilizing the local solar radiation through the design, installation and monitoring of five equally sized (1.11 kWP) solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-connected pilot plants. These 5 solar PV grid-connected plants are located in specific places in the urbanized area of the Kathmandu Valley. Through very detailed monitoring of the 5 solar PV grid-connected plants (see the “Live Data” site), the project aims to find out how the present, unreliable electrical network and the growing needs of users (small/medium enterprises as well as the population), can be improved through decentralized and partly autonomous solar PV grid-connected systems, feeding their generated electricity into the national grid.

The project aims to serve as a major step towards a wider awareness among the public, government and industry, regarding the adoption and replication of solar PV grid-connected systems in Nepal. The following five grid-connected solar PV plants have been built and are now monitored in great detail:

  • P1, at the Center of Energy Studies, Tribhuvan University, Pulchowk, Kathmandu: 1 x 1.11 kWp PV grid-connected plant in the city, with load shedding.
  • P2, at the NEA (Nepal Electricity Authority) Min Bhawan Complex : 3 x 1.11 Wp PV grid-connected plants in a place without any load shedding throughout the year.
  • P3, at the RIDS-Nepal NGO office in Imadol, Lalitpur: 1 x 1.11 kWp PV grid-connected plant with a battery bank energy storage back-up, with load shedding, functioning as a mini-grid.

In addition to the solar PV gird-connected pilot plants realization, the project includes also training activities, workshops and the live demonstration of the five solar PV plants’ performances through the “Live Data” web site. Moreover, the project aims to address the technical, economic and institutional issues identified in the feasibility study.

Expected Results

  • Verify the real energy production over an average year in the Kathmandu Valley per kW peak installed solar PV grid-connected system.
  • Verify the cost of an energy unit (kWh) of a solar PV grid-connected system compared to the current back-up systems’ used (petrol/diesel generator or battery/inverter) during load shedding periods.
  • Verify the available global solar insolation (kWh/m2) on a horizontal and on the POA (plain of the area) for an average meteorological year for the Kathmandu Valley.
  • Verify and compare the energy production (kWh) of the 5 installed 1.11 kW solar PV grid connected system in the three location in the Kathmandu Valley under the local meteorological conditions throughout an average year.
  • Verify the performance and ability to cope with the enormous instabilities of the power grid of the three different inverters used in P2, and to compare them to the “normal” inverter setup specifications.
  • Identify the scope (in MW installed capacity) for solar PV grid-connected systems in Kathmandu’s urban context.
  • Demonstrate the secure functioning of the solar PV grid –connected technology in order to create a basis to develop the right government (subsidy) policies, and thus stimulate its wider dissemination in Nepal and in other developing countries.
  • Provide recommendations for the adaptation of NEA’s regulations and conditions for power injection in to the grid through solar PV plants
  • Increase the local know-how through training programs, workshops and a conference, using the five pilot plants as training and demonstration tools.

Financing partners

  • FAI, Lugano, Switzerland,
  • REPIC, St. Ursen, Switzerland,


Development of PV grid-connected plants in Nepal - A feasibility study and training programme, D. Chianese1, D. Pittet, J.N. Shrestha, D. Sharma, A. Zahnd, M.R. Upadhyaya, S. Thapa, N. Sanjel, M. Shah, Lugano Switzerland and Kathmandu Nepal, 2010

P2 POA and Horizontal Kipp Zonen Pyranometers P2 Power Cabine P2 Samil Inverter.jpg P2 The THREE Solar PV Array Cleaning.jpg