By Philip Iglauer
A remote village in the rural mountains of Nepal can now turn on the lights, thanks to the help of a Korea university team and innovative use of solar power technology.
The Korean team and Nepali officials inaugurated the electrification of a district of remote Thingan Village, one of the country's many rural hamlets, Feb. 18.
Yuva Raj Subedi, a Nepali development official, and Ahn Sung-hoon, a professor of Seoul National University, inaugurated the Thingan Photovoltaic system by switching on the power, Feb 18.
Fifty-seven houses of the village now have electrificity thanks to a new system of 5 kilowatt-capacity Photovoltaic panels, complete with transmission lines throughout the village. It is the second such project in Nepal.
“The electrification of the village is important because it will support in the education, local cottage industries as well."
"Through the electrification, the village will not only get the light but also the village will be connected with the outside world.” Nepali Charge d’Affairs to Korea Raja Ram Bartaula said.
The move is part of a cooperative project between participating Korean universities and the Nepali government.
Subedi said that solar technology is key to Nepal’s rural development. Ahn of SNU said the participation of local villagers in the project was key to its success.
Korean volunteers also provided scholarships for ten Thingan village students and supplied a new library with 800 books, a projector and laptops. The facility will be helpful in education and in encouraging students to better the future, Ahn said.
After decades of political turmoil and civil war, Nepal is severely energy starved. A meager 1 percent of Nepal's energy needs are fulfilled by electricity. The bulk is dominated by fuel wood, some 68 percent.
Bartaula pitched for Korean investment here in February into hydro-electricity projects in his country. Nepal has 40,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power potential, but to date has developed only 600 MW of hydro power.
Korean volunteers also provided scholarships for 10 Thingan village students and supplied a new library with 800 books, a projector and laptops.
The facility will be helpful in education and in encouraging students to look for better future, Ahn said.