Solar Electricity Program

Lhasa Prefecture is home to 260,000 Tibetan herders and farmers, living in a rugged area of 33,000 square kilometers (12,700 square miles). Of the 54,100 families, 70% had no electricity in 1998. Lack of electricity contributes to lung problems (due to inhalation of kerosene fumes), nighttime falls by elderly people (due to tripping over unlighted objects), and less study time for children.

In May 1998, BLSCP began a solar photovoltaic (PV) electrification program with Lhasa for demonstration of this technology to the herders and farmers. Lhasa Science and Technology Commission is the host for program activities in Lhasa. As program partners from May 1998 through May 2000, the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (U.S.) provided major funding and technical support.

In June-July 1999, three small solar PV systems, rated at 20-36 watts each, were installed in Damshung and Lhundrup Counties:

A solar module is carried to the roof of the Drongkar Community Center in Damshung County.
Heshey Phunjok, Wisdom Light Group, Kathmandu, Nepal, and Jeevan Goff, Lotus Energy, Kathmandu, Nepal, complete the solar module installation on the roof of a home in Nyari Kuk village in Lhundrup County.
Jeevan Goff inspects the installation on a home in Drongkar village.
Simon Tan, Siemens Showa Solar, Singapore, demonstrates PV-powered light from a compact fluorescent lamp in the Nyari Kuk home.
In April-May 2000, solar PV home systems, rated at 20 watts each, were installed for 200 rural Tibetan families in Damshung and Lhundrup Counties. A solar module on the roof converts sunlight to electricity. The charge is stored in a battery, which powers two compact fluorescent lamps for several hours each night.

Under subcontract to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Wisdom Light Group, a Nepal-based company, installed solar PV systems for 100 families in Drongkar village, Damshung County. Under a separate NREL subcontract, Lotus Energy, also a Nepal-based company, installed solar PV systems for 50 families in Nyari Kuk village, Lhundrup County, and 50 families in Lhenpa village, Lhundrup County.

In July 2000, Bill Warnock, BLSCP Solar Electricity Program leader, visited Lhasa to assess the 200 PV home installations and gather data for further PV demonstrations. For the homeowners with solar lighting, their "dream has come true." They wish that other villagers could also receive solar lighting for their homes. Lhasa Science and Technology Commission provided Bill with a description of some potential PV-powered rural enterprises for income generation for the Tibetan herders and farmers. Damshung County requested PV installations for schools and medical clinics.

In September 2002, Bill Warnock led an exchange with Lhasa Science and Technology Commission on solar electricity installations for humanitarian uses in Drongkar village, Damshung County. They delivered photovoltaic equipment and lighting to a medical clinic, four primary schools, four community activity centers, a monastery, and 13 homes. The total capacity of the equipment is 600 watts. In this photo, monks at Kangmar Monastery are receiving a solar PV system for their kitchen. The equipment was funded primarily by a $5,000 grant from the Everest '96 Memorial Fund of The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.

This program is currently inactive.

Contact: Bill Warnock
Phone: 303-443-9863

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