Jugedhara: Behind the Scenes of Solar-Powered Success

Three men are carrying solar panels, lifting them onto a large metal structure where they will be secured. Three panels have already been put in place.

A photo tour of the installation of a solar water pumping system

Some might think that installing a Solar Multi-Use Water System (SolarMUS) is a fairly quick and simple process. You purchase the equipment, find a willing community, dig a few holes, pour some concrete, tighten a couple of screws and then ‘voila’ – a functional water lifting system! Poverty solved! Others might think that our team here at Renewable World executes all of these steps.

In fact, this couldn’t be further from the case! At the start of this summer, we worked alongside the Jugedhara community to install their solar-powered water lifting system that now provides 597 people with safe and reliable water for domestic and agricultural use. The entire process – from site selection, digging, wiring, piping, pouring concrete, technology procurement, contract negotiations technology assembly, and more – is a true community-wide effort. From start to finish, these projects demand authentic collaboration and capacity building of community members.

Our community-centred and integrated approach to renewable energy projects ensures that the members of the community are involved in every step of the project. Further, after the technology is operational, we also work with the community to provide relevant training to build their capacity to ensure the sustainability of the energy system. In the case of Jugedhara, training in financial literacy and good governance, climate-resilient farming practices, and health and sanitation (WASH) were offered. Another activity we have added to our programming, including in Jugedhara, is the implementation of a detailed hydro-geological study. This study helps the community devise a formal, site-specific Water Source Protection and Conservation Plan. This comprehensive training package, alongside the establishment of a formal water management committee, will help to ensure that the community can maximise the productive capacity of the system, properly manage their water supply, and practice good hygiene with their new, nearby taps.

Explaining this integrated, community-centred process is one thing; however, showing it provides a whole new appreciation for what it takes to execute a successful, community-owned solar-powered water lifting system in Nepal. Please enjoy the below ‘Behind the Scenes’ look into part of Jugedhara’s journey to safe water.

Negotiating contracts, selecting technologies, and meeting with stakeholders:

The photo shows a meeting between  Renewable World representatives, community representatives, and the Local NGO. Six individuals sitting in an office, one lady is taking ones.
Three men and a woman sitting at a desk. The woman is signing a document.
Three individuals, a woman and two men, standing next to a a number of large solar panels leaning against a wall.
Renewable World project staff and community members from Jugedhara at the technical contractor's office

Community planning, site selection for solar panels:

Community members sitting on the ground taking part in a community meeting
Map of the community drawn in consultation with community members
Rolls of water pipe on the ground

Constructing the water intake, water storage, and home taps:

View of two large concrete water storage tanks under construction
View of a large rectangular water tank on a hillside in Nepal
Two masons constructing a water thank with water collection point
A tap stand built in the traditional Nepali style, painted while, in front of a traditional Nepali house.

Razing the solar site and constructing the solar framing:

Community members watching a yellow JCB digger flattening land in preparation for the installation of the solar aray
The flattened land created by the yellow JCB digger in preparation of the installation of the solar panels.
Boxes of large solar panels on the ground being moved by community members
A metal frame, consisting of three triangular pieces, being erected on the hillside in Nepal with a eight community members inspecting the work
Solar panel frame fully erected with community members observing

Installing the solar panels:

Solar panels begin to be installed by community members.
The final solar panel installation in Jugedhara.

Installing electrical wiring, piping, solar-powered pump:

Community members begin to install piping for the solar-powered pump
Five men work together in installing wiring for the solar-powered pump in Jugedhara.
Two men work together on Intricate and careful wiring for the pump.
All hands to the pump as five men work together to install some of the final details on the piping.
Three men carrying one the sections of the pipe to the top of the hill, as other community members help out.
Community members work together on the piping which is taking place and installed on a hill in Jugedhara.
Three men install the solar-powered pump on a platform on a hill in the community.

Final touches (painting, testing, filling with dirt):

Testing of the water pump as water sprays out from the tap in an uncontrolled way.
Two community members tighten the piping sections to ensure it is secure.
A wide shot of the length of the pipe as two community members work on the final touches.

Completion of entire system (water intake with solar pump, solar site, storage tanks, taps):

The two round water storage tanks, painted white with red trim.
The rectangular water tank, painted white with red trim.
A project worker looks at the completed water tap.
The final product of the installed water panels on the flattened surface.

Integrated training programme (Water Resource Management, Health & Safety, Climate-Resilient Agricultural Practice, Management Committee)

A community training session on how to use and maintain the solar panels.
Training on water resource management and health and safety, led by a project worker, with many community members.
Training on water resource management and health and safety, led by a project worker, with many community members.
Training on water resource management and health and safety, led by a project worker, with many community members.
A group of women plant seeds in a patch of ground.

Another step towards a happy, sustainable community!

A group of community members smiling and standing next to the solar panels.
A group of community members smiling and sitting on one of the round water tanks.