Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL)

RERL extends rural communities’ access to renewable sources of clean energy by helping them install and manage micro-hydro plants and Renewable Energy Technologies to develop associated enterprises.

The UNDP-GEF RERL project is integral part of the Government’s single umbrella programme, the National Rural Renewable Energy Programme (NRREP). The GEF-RERL is supporting for development of mini/micro hydro and solar PV systems, productive energy uses and formulation of innovative financial mechanisms to attract private investment. The project is supporting NRREP to develop 10 MW of mini and micro hydropower, 2.5 MW of solar PV systems and establishment of mini grids connecting Micro-Hydro Plants (MHPs) of 300 kilowatt (kW) capacity to pool energy. The project will also support to build up capacity of local fabricators, installers & system integrators.

The Government of Nepal (GoN) and External Development Partners supporting Nepal's rural and renewable energy sector have designed National Rural and Renewable Energy Programme (NRREP) to be executed by Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment for five years from mid-July 2012 to mid-July 2017 in a single programme modality. read more

What have we accomplished so far

  • Policy: RERL worked with Institution Development Component of NRREP to prepare and finalize draft Renewable Energy Policy as well as draft Renewable Energy Subsidy Policy and Delivery Mechanism.
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP): RERL also prepared PPP Framework and Guidelines for development of Mini Hydro in Nepal. This will pave way for attracting private investment through formation of Special Purpose Vehicle to implement mini hydro projects in selected areas.
  • Grid Connection of MHP: RERL worked with Community Electrification Sub Component (CESC) and Regional Centre for Excellence of Micro Hydro (RCEMH) to prepare and finalize technical specifications for interconnection of MHP with the national electricity grid. The document was discussed extensively with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) officials. The specifications were adopted by the NEA board paving way for grid connection of MHP. Two MHPs (23 kW Sauryabhumi, Nuwakot and 40 kW Leguwa Khola, Dhankuta) have been identified for grid connection and they are at the stage of PPA negotiation with NEA.
  • To promote roof top solar, RERL with the Solar Energy sub-component has prepared the draft technical specification, which will be discussed with NEA for grid interconnection. An android application was also developed to calculate the size and cost of roof top solar systems.
  • District Energy Master Plan (DEMP): RERL has been supporting DDC Gorkha to prepare the District Electrification Master Plan. The master plan will look at different options for electrification including grid extension, mini/micro hydro and solar PV solutions and chooses ‘the least cost option’. A manual on preparation of DEMP will also be prepared and shared with other DDCs.
  • Mini Hydro DFS Guidelines: RERL and CESC/NRREP have jointly prepared Mini Hydro Detailed Feasibility Guidelines (DFS) and provided orientation to AEPC/NRREP/RERL engineers. Likewise, an orientation program targeting district level engineers of District Development Committees and Regional Service Centers on Mini Hydro and Large Solar PV was organized. 
  • A concept note on solar PV mini grid development was prepared and AEPC/NRREP/RERL professionals were trained on identifying potential sites using GIS.
  • Mini Hydro: RERL is working with CESC to support Mini Hydro development in Nepal.  So far RERL supported in pre-feasibility study of 7 Mini Hydro. RERL then undertook detailed feasibility studies of 5 potential projects. The community of the 360 kW Phawa Khola have indicated strong interest to develop the project immediately. The community has already initiated civil works with the financial assistance of DDC.
  • RERL is supporting the communities of Tara Khola Mini Hydro to form Special Purpose Vehicle (a private company) as required by financial institutions to provide credit and business opportunity assessment to demonstrate positive cash flow and revenue generation. NRREP is promoting development of the 3945 kW Tara Khola Mini Hydro.
  • Mini Grid of MHPs: CESC, RCEMH and RERL worked together to complete a mini grid in Gulmi district interconnecting the 100 kW Daram Khola and 85 kW Paropakar MHPs. RERL also studied the potential for interconnection of two MHPs in Dhading and several MHPs in Burtibang area of Baglung.
  • As there are issues related to management of the Baglung Mini Grid, RERL mobilized resources from Clean Start, UNCDF to help in strengthening the institutional arrangement and management capacity of the Baglung Mini Grid Cooperative.
  • RERL has also been providing technical assistance to Kabeli Tranmission Project/AEPC Component of the World Bank to finalize the design and cost estimate for establishment of Taplejung Mini Grid interconnecting 8 MHPs. As the district headquarters is not yet connected to the national grid, it is expected that the mini grid will provide some relief and generate enough revenue for operation and maintenance.
  • Solar PV: RERL is working with Solar Electricity Sub Component (SESC) on large PV systems. Large solar PV system is defined as i) Solar PV systems for Institutions, ii) Solar Pumping for both water supply and irrigation and iii) Solar Mini Grid for village electrification.
  • A concept note on development of solar PV mini grid targeting the poorest of poor has been prepared and share with stakeholders. The main idea is to support the poor households not only for hardware installation and operation but also to help increase their income levels to make sure that they are able to pay for monthly tariff, which is higher for solar systems compared to mini/micro hydro.
  • With the help of a private company, RERL identified 100 potential solar mini grid sites using the Geographic Information System (GIS). Detailed feasibility studies of 9 potential sites were carried out by RERL and SESC.
  • RERL is supporting the Chepang community of Mahadevsthan VDC Dhading to install solar systems including 3 mini grids, 1 integrated water supply and irrigation plant and about 50 solar home systems.  UNDP Country Office Nepal and Gyeongsangbuk – do Provincial Government of Korea have provided financial assistance to DDC Dhading for this project. DFS of mini grid have already been completed and the implementation will begin after the monsoon.
  • RERL supported PEUC to orient officials of Small and Cottage Industries Development Board (CSIDB) on AEPC’s support for micro, small and medium enterprises utilizing renewable energy. CISDB and AEPC have signed MoU to work together to promote rural enterprises. RERL also supported in training women entrepreneurs on enterprise management. Skill based trainings were provided to rural entrepreneurs from MHP catchment areas on bakery, computer, tailoring, etc. All together 74 women and 80 men benefitted from these training activities.
  • RERL has provided technical assistance to Productive Energy Use Component (PEUC) to modify Lokta boiling vessel to operate on electricity. The vessel has been fabricated and tested in a workshop in Kathmandu. Minor modifications were made to reduce heat losses and improve efficiency. It is expected that the electric boiling vessel will help replace fire wood consumption in making handmade paper in rural areas and reduce GHG emission. 
  • RERL is supporting AEPC/NRREP to carry out detailed feasibility study of 4 lift irrigation projects in micro hydropower catchment areas to be developed in collaboration with Dept. of Irrigation, GoN. Likewise, RERL is supporting rural communities in Dhading to install 5 lift irrigation projects under the Every Drop Matters of UNDP and Coca Cola Foundation. It is expected that lift irrigation projects will not only help improve livelihoods of rural farmers but also increase the plant load factors of MHP enhancing revenue generation.
  • RERL is working with a local company to modify Khuwa (Concentrated Milk) Making Machine to be operated with electricity instead of firewood.
  • RERL is also supporting the communities of Ruma Khola, Myagdi for Demand Side Management. The load demand in Durbang Bazar has grown very rapidly and the demand has outstripped the supply during the peak hours in the evening.
  • RERL is working on developing modalities and detailed guidelines to lease out micro hydropower plants for commercial operation. It is expected the plants will generate revenue for sustainable operation and regular maintenance. RERL is supporting community of the 85 kW Darna MHP to look at different institutional modalities suitable for commercial operation. Lessons from Darna will be replicated in other MHPs too. PEUC/NRREP has allocated resources to support MHPs to operate as profit making enterprises. 
  • RERL has prepared a framework for identification of potential areas and promotion of clusters of enterprises in min/micro hydropower catchment areas. RERL carried out pre-feasibility at Darna, Achham and Katti Khola, Dailekh for promotion of clusters of RE operated enterprises. Darna in particular has been found to be highly potential as it is a marketplace and many enterprises already exist. RERL will provide technical assistance to extend the electricity line to the market.
  • RERL supported PEUC/NRREP to establish 208 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) of which 38 MSME are operated by women.  Likewise, with RERL support 948 IGA plan have been prepared.
  • Quality Assurance: RERL supported Monitoring and Quality Assurance Unit (MQAU) to develop quality assurance mechanism for monitoring mini/micro hydro and large solar PV systems. The mechanism will be implemented by MQAU in the coming fiscal year. When implemented, the quality assurance of the total system will be ensured.
  • RERL is also supporting MQAU and CESC to prepare sustainability framework of micro hydro. The framework looks into every aspect of micro hydro including technical conditions, financial management, socio-economic changes, environmental effects, etc. A pre-test was carried out recently in a micro hydropower plant. The final document is expected to be completed by the end of September 2015.
  • With the financial assistance of RERL, a remote monitoring & control system for large solar PV has been designed and assembled. This will allow agencies such as subsidy providers, Energy Service Providers, local governments to access real time data and monitor the performance of the projects.
  • RERL is supporting to PEUC of NRREP/AEPC to develop Web based monitoring system. 
  • Micro Hydro Installation Training: Training was organized for private companies involved in micro hydro development on installation. 20 technicians from different companies participated.  It is expected that this kind of training will support in standardization of MH installation.

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Project Overview


Project duration:
July 2014 to June 2019

Geographic coverage:
75 districts of Nepal

Focus Area:
Environment and Energy

Implemented by:
The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Government of Nepal

Cost Sharing Organisations:

Global Environment Facility, UNDP, Government of Nepal

UNDP focal point:
Anupa Rimal Lamichhane
CCPA, UNDP, UN House, POB 107
Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: 00-977-1-5523200
Fax: 00-977-1-5523991

Project focal point:
Satish Gautam
Programme Manager
Tel: 00-977-1-5539390