Solar Energy for Community Resilience in Nepal (SECuRe)

Over 2 750 people in three villages in Surkhet, Nepal, are still living with the impact of the 2014 floods. The project aims to increase community resilience to economic and climatic stresses in this rural off-grid community through the use of innovative renewable energy technology.

Project Need

Project Outcome

The project will achieve four principal outcomes, measured through rigorous evaluation at the end of the second year of the project, namely:

  • 300 households (1,650 individuals) on the floodplain will benefit from the flood warning system.
  • 2,750 individuals (from 500 households) will have access to energy-enabled health services. With energy access, the health post will be able to operate at night-time and refrigerate vaccines and medicines, increasing their capacity to provide preventative and curative local healthcare.
  • 50 households, 10 small enterprises, a school and a church will have access to electricity for domestic lighting, fan operation, and small business development (eg grocery stores, mobile phone charging, pharmacy and agri-veterinary services).
  •  A decrease in fossil fuel use and a resulting decrease in respiratory problems and eye and skin irritations caused by the use of kerosene.

Project beneficiaries include a high proportion of women and young girls, as well as Dalit and Janjati people, who are subject to extreme discrimination. The project will directly benefit 2 750 individuals in 500 off-grid households in three communities. The feasibility phase will seek to identify additional downstream communities who could benefit from the flood warning system.

Project Updates

Project updates 2018-2019

Activities conducted in Berichaal-Chepand community – Solar Powered Flood Warning

The installation of the solar generation system has been completed.The Health Post has been connected to the energy supply since September and the energy system is functioning well, powering lighting, fans and a refrigerator and, as of late November, delivering energy- enabled services to the whole community. The Renewable World team has continued to help with supervision of the system the months following the installation.

Renewable World has also completed the installation of a low-cost, easy operating flood warning system whose component parts include: a solar panel, battery (for energy storage so the system can operate outside daylight hours), an information receiving/processing unit, and an alarm system (a verbal warning message followed by a siren). The warning system receives real time data on rainfall and river water level, which is recorded by hydro-meteorological stations upstream.

The flood warning system has been placed on the roof of a school building situated close to the centre of the community to limit any possible obstruction to the warning message/siren. The Renewable World team has been monitoring and following up on the system performance and helping the community managing it.

Activities conducted in Srijana Bazaar community – Solar Microgrid

Srijana Bazaar is in Simta Rural Municipality, 3 km away from the nearest grid line. Renewable World ensures that the solar microgrid is designed to be able to link to the national grid in the future.

The following activities were carried out in 2018-2019

  • Community and stakeholder consultations and hearing: conductions of meetings with local stakeholders to share information on the project, the implementation approach, etc. Discussion on the community’s role and responsibilities in the project. All stakeholders expressed strong interest – knowing the need for electrification in their community as a basis for improving livelihoods.
  • Detailed Feasibility Study and Design: carried out feasibility to understand the community’s energy demand and load profile and to inform the design of the solar micro-grid system. An Energy Demand Survey was also conducted among potential energy users – information used to calculate the total energy demand required by the community which was the based for a 7kW system proposal.
  • Finance Literacy and Good Governance Training: training aiming to strengthen the skills of the construction/ energy management committee members in the project management – including understanding and delivering their roles and responsibilities, maintaining transparency, accountability, acting in a participatory and inclusive manner. Training on record keeping for income and expenditure transactions, on the importance of opening and maintaining a project bank account, etc.
  • Baseline survey: Capturing the current situation in the community completed in 72% of the total households.

Planned activities for 2020

SECuRE is on track to deliver all activities by the end of October 2020. By working on two different locations to pilot new technologies for solar powered flood warning and solar microgrid, the original objectives can be delivered and reach many more people than originally anticipated with access to clean and affordable solar powered systems – helping to strengthen livelihoods and resilience in these remote and poor communities.


Project updates 2019-2020

Activities conducted in Berichaal-Chepand community – Solar Powered Flood Warning

Although the flood warning system was installed and training on the system completed with the community in late 2019, a final audit and test of the system was scheduled for March 2020 to coincide with other field activities. However, the lockdown due to the pandemic delayed the process of the auditing and testing activities. In late May 2020, the Project Team, working with Real Time Solutions (the system supplier) and the community, was able to conduct remote yet successful testing of the system. The flood warning system is in place and operational for the monsoon season, when it is the most needed, i.e. June to September.

The Project Team has also worked remotely with RTS, to develop the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which explains how the system functions. Once complete, this will be shared with the community and the Regional Office of Hydrology and Meteorology, with whom the Project Team has been working on arrangements for co-ownership of the system with the community, upon hand-over. The Team also consulted with the Hydrology and Meteorology Office on the development of a one-day programme to orient and raise awareness in the community on the system and disaster preparedness. This training will include a test drill and training on local level repair and maintenance.

Activities conducted in Srijana Bazaar community – Solar Microgrid

In Srijana Bazaar, activities have focused on preparation for the installation of the solar microgrid. SECuRe has helped the community to establish the Srijana Bazaar Solar Microgrid Construction Committee and formally register this body with Simta Rural Municipality. The Committee, which is an elected group of individuals, will be responsible for coordinating the civil construction work required for the installation of the microgrid. It will, in due course, become the Energy Management Committee, responsible for the operation, maintenance and oversight of the microgrid, including the energy payment system. Initial training in financial literacy and good governance was completed with the Committee in November 2019.

Delays due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the lockdown and the governmental restrictions in Nepal have slowed down the project activities, Nepal SECuRe is approximately three months behind schedule but it is planned to make rapid progress with the remaining elements as soon as the lockdown eases, ideally completing all activities by November 2020.