Clean energy provides new opportunities for green growth and is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It enables businesses to grow, generates jobs and creates new markets. Children can study after dark, families have access to more efficient sources of power, and countries can grow more resilient with competitive economies.
UNCDF CleanStart co-invests in early stage business ideas that can have a positive ripple effect in the way rural customers buy and use modern energy.
Since 2014, UNCDF’s CleanStart Programme in Nepal has taken clean energy promotion to new levels and outreach through government and private sector partnerships. CleanStart aims to support the global Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative and the Government of Nepal’s plan to ensure clean cooking and lighting solutions to all by 2022, when Nepal aims to graduate from Least Developed Country to Developing Nation. This is done with innovative finance and seed capital, advocacy and partnerships with stakeholders, technical assistance to pilot new business models, and sharing lessons learned on best practices to reach last-mile energy consumers,
Through UNCDF CleanStart support, over 125,000 households have access to reliable and clean energy including solar home systems, improved cooking solutions, and improved water mills. The following four stories highlight the real impact of accessing reliable energy.
Solar Pumps for a Better Future
Santa Kumari Mukhiya 61, is a resident of Shivasatakshi Municipality in Jhapa. The dry season has always been major problem for her crops. That all changed the day she heard of solar water pumps.
She owns 22 Katha of land (0.74 ha) and farms five Katha (0.17 ha) to feed her family of nine with rice, maize, mustard and millet as staple. “I faced from my neighbor upon leasing their water pumps to plant rice saplings even waiting in queue” shares Ms. Santa in dismay. She had to pay NRs 500 for five hours per day when using the water pump. During one bad stretch of weather, she had to bear the cost for 4-5 days. Santa Kumari was forced to pay for the water pumps at least 3-4 times a year.
Manual pumping of the hand pump was tiresome for her family, often leaving their hands full of blisters. “I used electric pumps and it cost me NRs 1100 in utility bills each month to plant staple, grow vegetables and water livestock. I was very cautious in using electric pumps and even compromised to limit the expense” she mumbles.
With sheer excitement, Santa Kumari shares the multipurpose use of solar pumps with its benefits. She is thankful to Winrock International and SAHARA Cooperatives for unlocking credit to help her install the solar pump. “I am a member of Sahara cooperative with 20 women members. I was heavily fascinated to install solar water pump when Sahara introduced it to our group” smiles Ms. Santa. She is no longer concerned about electricity bills to use water. After the solar pump installation, her utility bill has been reduced from NRs 1100 to NRs 300 per month. She saves NRs 800 per month and is now confident in paying a monthly installment of NRs 2000 over the next 24 months until fully owning the solar pump system.
It’s because of solar pump, I am able to plant additional mustard for my bee grazing and I am hopeful to harvest superior quality honey this year
Her husband was reluctant to install the system. However, he now rejoices its uses for farming and livestock management. “I am satisfied with its financial benefits and I appreciate my wife for her decision”. The low-cost solution ensuring year-round water availability has encouraged Ms. Santa to explore avenues of diversified income generating activities. She has planted mustard twice this year because beekeeping has opened new avenues to her income. “It’s because of solar pump, I am able to plant additional mustard for my bee grazing and I am hopeful to harvest superior quality honey this year”. Additionally, more mustard will reduce her expense of buying cooking oil.
With joy, she advocates her neighbors and relatives to install solar water pumps and reap its benefits. “Three of my relatives have installed similar systems and are grateful to me for introducing solar water pumps replacing electric motors”. In addition, her daughter in-laws are happy to have easy access to water for sanitation. Continuous water supply in toilets, use of water in household for cooking, regular bathing has saved their energy and time.