Development of PV grid-connected plants in Nepal. A feasibility study and training programme co-financed by REPIC
Chianese, D., Pittet, D., Shrestha, J.N., Sharma, D., Zahnd, A., Upadhyaya, M.R., Thapa, S., Sanjel, N. and Shah, M. (2010) Development of PV grid-connected plants in Nepal. A feasibility study and training programme co-financed by REPIC. SUPSI, Lugano, Kathmandu.
This project was co-funded by REPIC and SUPSI. It was achieved through the close collaboration between SUPSI and two Nepalese partner teams: the CES of the Tribhuvan University together with NSES, and Kathmandu University alongside RIDS-Nepal. The project was implemented between October 2008 and June 2010.
Although connecting PV modules to the main electric grid is by far the most rational, economical and efficient way to install this technology, it appears that, like in many other developing and transition countries, PV technology has so far been applied in Nepal exclusively through standalone plants (NEA, 2008). Such plants are used in several remote areas of the country and provide very satisfactory service to the rural populations (Zahnd, McKay, & Komp, 2006). However, the urban regions of Nepal, which already have access to the national electricity grid, are so far making use of PV technology without the added advantage of a connection to the grid. As exposed in chapter four, Nepal benefits from extremely favourable climatic conditions for exploiting PV technology. Moreover, despite its extraordinary potential for the production of hydropower, a lack of investments, political instability and the increase in energy demands have brought the country in a severe energy crisis, with as much as sixteen hours of load shedding per day during spring 2009. Solutions and ways out of the energy crisis will certainly be found by diversifying the electricity sources, so as to increase the production capacity in the short and long term, with –hopefully– careful consideration for global sustainability criteria. Grid-connected PV technology could be part of the “package” of Nepal’s future electricity supply scheme, but the conditions and criteria to make it applicable in the given context are manifold and influenced by technical, institutional and economic aspects. These will be analysed in the present work in order to assess its feasibility. Although the investigation for the development of alternative energy sources is a fundamental and acknowledged issue for the energy sector in Nepal, the present study is the first to look specifically at the feasibility of grid-connected PV in the country. The reference context considered in this study is the Kathmandu Valley.
In parallel to the feasibility study, a training programme was conducted for TU and KU students at various phases of the project. Moreover, both TU and KU students were directly involved in the study activities, mainly to conduct surveys with potential domestic and industry/service technology users.
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