Nepal’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.
Based 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:
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.
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