IEEE Smart Village promotes solar and microgrids in Himalayas

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has completed an education facility at its solar powered Himalayan Smart Village. The facility will provide local students with the ability to experience the effectiveness of a DC micro-grid and solar array.

The array provides power to the Mahabodhi Residential School’s Third Pole Education Base (E-Base) in the Ladakh region, which boasts hostile and remote terrain but unrivaled solar resources. The education aspect of the project aims to inform local students of to the potential of sustainable solutions such as distributed solar and microgrids in the region.

“Kids would come… stay at the boarding school, learn basic science and math and then return to their homes,” said Pranav Mehrotra, an IEEE Smart Village ambassador who participated in the Global Himalayan Expedition project in Ladakh. IEEE’s Mike Wilson added that these students could then help empower their local communities through the deployment of renewable energy technologies.

“Imagine the potential, long-term impact of empowering 200 future entrepreneurs from off-grid villages with the knowhow to bring renewable energy-based solutions to their communities,” said Wilson.

The most recent work on the E-Base project was to deploy a DC solar microgrid.

“These DC solar micro-grids are a first-of-their-kind installation in the Himalayas with easy to setup process and requiring low maintenance. This could be the ideal solution toward remote Himalayan village electrification,” said Paras Loomba, founder of Global Himalayan Expedition. “As these grids would eventually be owned and run by a Village Level Entrepreneur (VLE), the solution can be easily replicated in adjoining regions.”

The IEEE reports that its Smart Village program, formerly know as CSI, is serving 15,000 people with its sustainable solutions. It is active in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Sudan. Its goal is to serve one million people in five years.