Solar power on the top of the world : Possibilities to provide the school in Thade, in Nepal, with electricity from a solar cell system
Nepal, a country located between India and China, is one of the world’s least developed countries. Access to electricity is a problem throughout Nepal. Both for the grid connected areas that suffer from power cuts up to 16 hours a day during the dry season, and for remote areas where lack of money, infrastructure or even the location itself set limits for the electrification.
In the eastern part of Nepal, around 100 km south of Mount Everest is Thade, a small mountain village with about 200 residents. Until 2015 the village only had an old, dilapidated school building that was in such bad condition that it could barely be used. Therefore, many of the children in the village did not go to school, and it was only the families with enough money that could send their children to a better school. Other children had to walk for hours to reach the nearest school.
With contribution and support from a Swedish-Nepali non-government organisation (NGO) a new school opened in May 2015. One year later there are 42 children at the Grace Academy School. One of the main problems for the school today is that they do not have any electricity, which places limitations on both teachers and students.
The purpose of this study was to investigate if it is possible, in a simple and sustainable way use a solar cell system with battery storage to meet the basic needs for electricity of the school.
The aim was to build a simulation model, of the energy system, in MATLAB’s Simulink® program and then validate the result from that model to the result from the commercial solar system program PVsyst. Tilt and orientation of the panels was optimized specifically for Thade School to get as much electricity as possible from the prevailing conditions.
Further, the aim was to, through interviews and conversations with the residents in the village and people connected to the school project, gain an understanding of how electrification of Thade School would affect the school, the teachers and the students, as well as the village and its residents.
In general, Nepal has very good conditions for solar power, with around 300 days of sunshine annually. According to the residents of Thade, the weather is usually clear and sunny early in the morning, but after 10am it most often becomes cloudy and foggy. Hence investigation whether solar power in Thade would work is interesting.
Electrification of the school would allow for easier learning and most likely increase the status of the school in the surrounding area. It would be easier for students and stuff to get information from the outside world, especially if their plan for Internet access is incorporated in the future. The interest for teachers to come to Thade would perhaps increase. Today the school has a hard time getting good teachers to come, to teach and live in the small mountain village. The children attending the school would also have a better chance to compete with other children to enter University or further educations. The advantages of electrification for Thade are clear.
Three different cases were simulated, with different assumptions of the solar radiation. The results showed that solar power could cover about 95 % of the annual demand, based on the needs that were reported as needed today.
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