Light for all 'solar tukis' light remote villages
August 2007; Nar Bahadur Tamang, a solar tuki user from Panchakanya Ilam says, ' I neither have to worry about fire hazard nor spend money to purchase kerosene or battery. Students are also satisfied as solar tukis* mean more study hours.'
Despite the enormous hydropower potential of 83,000 MW, most of the villages of Nepal do not have electricity. Until today, 2.4 million and 96 thousand households use kerosene lamp and fatwood respectively to light their house. Even with the government subsidy, these households are unable to bear the cost of Solar Home System (SHS) for lighting purpose.
With the support of UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF)/ Small Grants Programme, the Center for Renewable Energy (CRE) initiated an ambitious campaign 'Light for All' and introduced cheaper Solar Tukis for those who could not afford SHS (Solar Home System) .
The `Light for all Campaign' has been able to install 749 solar tukis in Yanshila and Panchakanya VDCs of Morang and Ilam district respectively. The campaign received further boost when the CRE received a grant of $US 19,000 from Development Market Place of World Bank. CRE also partnered with Environment Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) for the `Light for All campaign'.
Till date, more than 6000 solar Tukis have been installed over 21 districts.The campaign is gaining momentum as the government of Nepal has also allocated funding for solar tuki in Karnali zone. Villagers have started purchasing the solar tukis on loan also.
So far 23 various institutions including financial institutions, NGOs, CBOs and Local Development Fund in 12 districts have invested in solar tukis. 'The village level cooperatives or the community based organisation act as financial institution through which the villagers can easily access loan to install the solar tukis. As the villagers can easily repay the loan in two years, there is very little risk in the investment', said Babu Raja Shrestha, President of CRE. '
(*: A solar tuki set consists of two sets of 0.4W WLED ( White Light Emitting Diode) based lamp, 1 unit of 2.5-3W solar panel to charge the battery in the solar tukis, with 3 volt outlet for small radio. The cost of Solar Tuki is Rs 3500 compared whereas the cost of SHS ranges from Rs. 20,000 -35,000.)