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Himalayan Lights Foundation

The Himalayan Light Foundation (HLF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal. HLF's main objective is to improve the quality of life of the remote population of the Himalayan region via the introduction and use of environmentally friendly renewable energy technologies.

Objectives of HLF:

  • To encourage participation in renewable energy research and development activities by foreign and local Nepali research institutions and researchers, renewable energy practitioners, volunteers, and the private sector;
  • To develop rural renewable energy projects in conjunction with income-generating activities;
  • To perform renewable energy resource assessments and other technical studies that lower information barriers to renewable energy project implementation;
  • To provide competent and unbiased social and technical evaluation of rural renewable energy projects;
  • To carry out policy studies that support the development of sustainable renewable energy industries in Nepal;
  • To conduct workshops and seminars in topics related to renewable energy dissemination for the public, the private sector, and government officials;
  • To run training programs in villages in order to develop local technical and managerial capacity in renewable energy;
  • To establish renewable energy extension centers in rural areas that provide education, dissemination and long term support for renewable energy technologies, while providing employment for local practitioners;
  • Design and implement programs which strategically combine energy with important social concerns such as education, income generation, employment and social empowerment.
Current Programs:

Monastery Solar Lighting Program In conjunction with the Virtual Foundation, the Himalayan Lights Foundation is providing solar electric lighting systems to several monasteries in the remote Himalayas. As well as being spiritual centers, these monasteries are also often the centers of the community, attracting people from the surrounding villages. Traditionally, monasteries provide education for the children of the area and they maintain this role today particularly in areas where access to schools is difficult or expensive.

Renewable Energy System Dissemination Program (RESDP)

RESDP coordinates the installation of "seed" renewable energy electric systems in appropriate applications throughout the Himalayan region. Renewable energy technologies include solar- and wind-generated electricity and micro-hydroelectric systems.

Applications include:

  • Lighting in public spaces for schools, literacy programs, health clinics, and community centers;
  • Water pumping for drinking water and irrigation;
  • Village drinking water purification;
  • Home lighting and electrification.
RESDP facilitates the establishment of village committees responsible for community system operations and maintenance. This assures that all members of the village are able to participate in and enjoy the benefits of the systems deployed. The program works with a variety of financing mechanisms including micro-credit initiatives, subsidy programs, and donor-funded projects. This program includes educational components to inform remote communities about the potential uses as well as constraints of renewable electricity.

Renewable Energy Assessment Program (REAP)

Successful implementation of sustainable renewable energy projects in the Himalayas requires an understanding of a variety of social, political, economic, and physical variables. REAP conducts socio-economic studies and field tests of various renewable energy technologies, institutional arrangements, and financing mechanisms to assess their appropriateness for villages. The program provides experienced consultation services for unbiased social and technical evaluation of rural renewable energy projects.

LEVEL UP (Lotus Energy Village Electrification & Lighting Utility Project) - Seed System Installation Program

Under the LEVEL UP Seed System Installation Program, HLF has already installed SHS in three districts out of a total of eleven available SHS. The remaining eight systems are to be installed in various other districts in the western and the far-western region of Nepal.

Upcoming Programs:

Grameen Energy Micro Enterprises (GEME)

GEME works with village entrepreneurs to develop markets and marketable products for cottage industries made possible by the deployment of renewable energy technologies. The program was established in order to help villagers set up and run income generation activities such as weaving and Tangka painting to maximize the benefits of extended evening hours made possible by renewable energy lighting systems.

  • The "Home Employment and Lighting Package" (HELP) will allow villagers access to a solar home system that can be repaid with handicraft items made in the home.
  • Solar "flashlight battery" recharging charging stations. HLF will work with village entrepreneurs to establish village charging-stations for small batteries. Disposable dry cell batteries that power flashlights and radios consume a surprising 10% of Himalayan family's earnings. Rechargeable batteries are much less expensive for families in the long term, and at the same time a village solar battery charging station provides an income generating opportunity within the community, so money stays in circulation in the local economy.

Nepal Rural Renewable Electricity Database

HLF is developing a renewable energy database for all regions in Nepal, with information about renewable energy resources, installed renewable energy systems, economic conditions, and rural NGOs with past experience or ability and interest in carrying out renewable energy projects.

Clean Mountain Energy Corps: Renewable Energy Volunteers

HLF places volunteers and student researchers in appropriate organizations within the renewable energy field in Nepal. Volunteers can be involved in a variety of aspects of renewable energy development work depending upon their interests and experience. Generally volunteers with specific experience in the technical aspects of solar PV, small wind systems, or micro-hydro can be involved in designing and implementing the systems, and possibly training local Nepali groups in maintenance of the systems. Others might be involved with project coordination and planning, proposal writing and funding logistics.

Volunteers in Solar Community Development (VSCD) For people with a desire to play an active role in renewable energy installations in villages, the HLF has created Volunteers in Solar Community Development (VSCD). During the course of these programs, participants spend approximately a week in the field installing renewable energy systems in village homes. Participants work in small teams in collaboration with local villagers and experienced renewable energy technicians. In the program, village stays are arranged for volunteers and cultural exchanges are emphasized.

Solar Sisters:

The Solar Sisters program is especially designed as an opportunity for Western women and Nepali village women to share in the experience of bringing solar electric lights to Nepali village households. The program is similar in structure to the VSCD program, with a focus on exchange with local womenÕs organizations.

Financial Support:

The Himalayan Lights Foundation is supported by direct donations from individuals and organizations that share its vision of renewable energy as a tool for sustainable rural mountain development. Additional support comes from volunteer placement fees and consultation fees. HLF reserves the right to refuse donations from organizations that may compromise its independence and autonomy.