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Design of an optimised PV system for a remote Himalayan village

Zahnd, A. (2005) Design of an optimised PV system for a remote Himalayan village. In: Solar05 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, 28 - 30 November, Dunedin, New Zealand

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While significant progress during the last two decades has been made in rural electrification through extending electricity services to rural villages, it also became clear that with mere traditional electrification methods such as grid connection, most of the remaining, isolated rural villages in the developing world will not be reached within the foreseeable future. Geographical and climatic conditions in combination with low population density, minimal energy demand levels and low growth potential, are some of the reasons that make rural electrification costs often prohibitive. The continuously increasing rates of migration and urbanisation, in particular in developing countries, often support the decision by governments to redirect their effort to the improvement and extension of urban electrification systems. This paper aims to draw renewed attention to the urgency for basic, sustainable rural village electrification for isolated villages in remote and difficult-to-access areas. With this raison d’être, the paper focuses on a set of parameters that are important to define in order to build a sound basis for the design and calculation of a sustainable rural PV village electrification system for lighting purposes. The paper examines the village PV power system as an integral part of a community’s long term holistic development. Considering the parameters defined, an installed project of representative size in the remote Himalayan district of Humla, Nepal, is presented. The initial experiences and lessons learned are discussed.

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