Nepal | June 01, 2020

Solar and energy management: Pros and cons

Pramod Raj Pokharel
Share Now:

The most feasible solar intervention is through 11 kV feeders. For that pick NEA approved about 300 numbers of high loss 11 kV feeders with peak load in the range of 1 MW to 2 MW

Solar PowerRecent initiations from the government to make roof-top solar installation mandatory in future buildings of government, public, corporate and commercial enterprise is taken as a good move. GoN officials have also started discussions with ADB and others to work out a plan for immediate installation of bulk solar plants. These initiations are coming amid when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli recently announced to rid the country of power outage within a year and for this a 200 MW capacity solar power installation together with other energy mixes are under serious considerations.

In the past also Nepal through various policy papers reflected its verdict to bring solar harvesting into its main energy stream to resolve prolonged energy crisis. Clause 60 of Budget Speech FY 2014/15 is particularly mentionable here – that provisioned surplus energy sale to NEA from one kw or more solar installation on the roof-tops of Nepalese urban area. Unfortunately, like others it also faded out in policy papers and once again our inability got exposed to forge an energy policy.

To understand this one needs to see the dynamics of change. Change in its essence has both supportive and opposing forces. Breakthrough against opposing inertia only brings changes; otherwise the prevailing condition suppresses the intended change. Intended change needs some sort of forces to guide its process and some of the forces are purely for domain alignment.

With domain alignment one has to understand NEA and its ally’s perspective in a large scale solar energy hunt in Nepal. Realizing the massive investment in Upper Tamakoshi HPP, the present electricity hunger of the nation is the only back-up plan ensuring
Upper Tamakoshi’s return of investment in case of Dhalkebar – Muzaffarpur cross boarder TL link
disruption. By ignoring this bitter truth, one can’t possibly manage the present
energy crisis in a short span of time.

Proper management is largely using common sense consciously and the most important thing is to read and analyze the situation. Nepali energy sector has many pros and cons.
A shrewd management finds both pros and cons equally important as its resources. Hence, it’s the right time to use pros of Nepalese energy sector to sort out alignment problems with NEA and its allies. In the present context where urban Nepali kitchens, due to recent the Indian blockade have started shifting its load from LPG to electricity and the future consequences on NEA’s system losses with its longer radial feed system is well predicted above 35%, NEA’s low quality distribution infrastructure is the perfect platform for solar intervention.

Firstly, in the present context where NEA supply system is highly congested and needs thorough up-gradation, the best way is to create local generation as much as possible to meet local energy demand. And this is in line with the universal acceptance of the best loss reduction strategy – “avoid transporting much from distance”. Despite cost constraints, hybrid model of Solar – Optimized Hydro provides the best natural battery system with incomparable reliability and outputs in many folds.

So if someone suggests a bulk solar installation in the range of 50 MW to 200 MW in Nepal it will be a blunder mainly because of three reasons. Firstly, it does not help at all in system loss reduction across highly congested longer radial feed distribution systems. Secondly, proper solar mapping may suggest solar installation in the area far from the load center and area having difficulty in power evacuation. And thirdly, as solar is space intensive large scale solar harvesting always gives a big challenge for proper space management.

Solar provides the opportunity for the best mode of distributed generation concept. Roof-tops of individual households are the ideal places for small scale installations where drops make the ocean concept can be materialized.

However, capacity of NEA distribution feeders is not like that of developed countries to cope with the massive possible solar injections if allowed in urban and peri-urban areas. Hence, it is not the right time to allow individual household based solar injection in Nepal.

As comprehensive distribution system reinforcement works through conventional approach costs significant amount of investment and the process is never ending, it’s time to think differently and to use the existing infrastructure as much as possible. The best alternative is to think opposite of radial feed system and go for hybrid system with distributed generation from renewable sources like solar and optimized hydro.

Hence, the most feasible solar intervention is through 11 kV feeders. For that pick NEA approved about 300 numbers of high loss 11 kV feeders with peak load in the range of 1 MW to 2 MW. Feed 25-50 kW solar injections in 20 to 30 different places along the feeder length.

Thus, each feeder if gets 50% of its supply from this distributed generation concept, at least in day time (except highly cloudy day) one can ensure uninterrupted electricity supply in these feeders. Making these feeders on-line in terms of energy feed and energy consumptions at least up-to distribution transformer levels will enable Nepal to launch a new era of energy management. And the most awaited in Nepal is the energy efficiency in supply side through energy contracting models and Energy Service Companies (ESCOs).


A version of this article appears in print on December 29, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

NHRC deploys separate team to probe Soti incident

Kathmandu, May 31 The National Human Rights Commission has sent its own team to Jajarkot and Rukum West to probe the Soti incident where five people died and one went missing over an inter-caste marriage dispute. The NHRC, issuing a press statement today, said the team would be led by Deputy D Read More...

China cities aid Pokhara metropolis

Pokhara, May 31 Various cities of China have helped Pokhara metropolis with health materials worth 79,000 US Dollars. Mayor Man Bahadur GC said the metropolis had established relationship of brotherhood with different cities of China. He said nine types of health materials had reached Pokh Read More...

Jadon Sancho

Sancho hat-trick keeps Dortmund in title hunt

PADERBORN: England forward Jadon Sancho capped a blistering individual performance with a second-half hat-trick which helped Borussia Dortmund to a 6-1 win at Paderborn on Sunday and kept alive their slim Bundesliga title hopes. The result left Dortmund second on 60 points from 29 games wit Read More...

Amendment bill to update emblem tabled

KATHMANDU, MAY 31 Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe tabled the Constitution Amendment Bill (second amendment) in the House of Representatives today seeking to update Nepal’s emblem by including the revised map of Nepal after amending Schedule 3 of the co Read More...

FNCCI calls for lockdown extension review

KATHMANDU, MAY 31 A day after the government decided to extend the nationwide lockdown for the seventh time till June 14, the private sector has urged the government to review its decision and modality of the lockdown. Issuing a press statement today, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Com Read More...

La Liga announces fixtures as season re-start looms large

BARCELONA: Barcelona will recommence their bid to defend the Spanish title on Saturday June 13 away to Real Mallorca after a three-month pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while Real Madrid will host Eibar on June 14, organisers La Liga announced on Sunday. The season kick backs into action Read More...

Chinese national held for misbehaving with girls

Kathmandu, May 31 Thamel police have taken Chinese national Chen Xi, 21, into custody after some locals caught a few Chinese men for allegedly misbehaving with some local girls in Chhetrapati area near Thamel, Kathmandu, yesterday. Chhetrapati area was tense yesterday, after two Chinese men al Read More...

JSP-N registers private bill

KATHMANDU: The Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal is preparing to register a private constitution amendment bill at the Parliament Secretariat seeking to amend several provisions of the constitution to address the demands of Madhesis, Janajatis and other marginalised groups and communities. Senior Advo Read More...