How 14 Microgrids Set Off a Chain Reaction in a Himalayan Village

5 years ago, the distant village of Lingshed in the Ladakh location of the northern Himalayas finally bought electricity. A group of IEEE volunteers installed fourteen solar-powered microgrids at the monastery and a close by elementary college. The effort was led by IEEE Intelligent Village, a program that brings electricity—as nicely as instructional and work opportunities—to distant communities all over the world. The program is 1 of the donor-supported precedence initiatives of the IEEE Foundation.

The Lingshed challenge was done in collaboration with the Worldwide Himalayan Expedition, an organization that couples tourism with technological innovation to supply solar energy to distant communities.

In July GHE founder Paras Loomba returned to Lingshed at the ask for of IEEE Intelligent Village to understand what sort of affect the microgrids have had on the local community. He identified that the IEEE challenge has aided the villagers increase their residing conditions with modern conveniences and encouraged the design of a new 100-kilometer-extensive highway to make it easier to vacation amongst Lingshed and Leh, the largest town in the spot. It is hoped that the route, which is nonetheless in progress, also will increase tourism in the spot.

The highway replaces a gravel trail that could be traversed only by foot, with donkeys carrying any baggage or offers. The new highway is predicted to transform a two-day walk to a 6-hour drive by car.


To bring electricity to Lingshed, the IEEE team installed fourteen solar microgrids, each powering a string of LEDs in homes and alongside the streets. The grids have been divided among the the village’s monastery, dormitories at the elementary college, and a tiny computer lab designed by GHE that doubles as an Net café for vacationers. The lab has a satellite Net hyperlink and “offline Net,” a collection of encyclopedias on a challenging drive that college students can use for college. Each and every microgrid incorporates a 250-watt photovoltaic panel, a pair of twelve-volt lead-acid deep-discharge tubular batteries designed for solar methods, and about thirty three-W LEDs, according to Jean Kumagi’s post in IEEE Spectrum about the expedition, in which she gave her to start with-hand account.

Right before the 2016 electrification challenge, the monks and the temple’s acolytes performed pujas—Buddhist prayer ceremonies—in the dim or with tiny mild at dawn and dusk, Sonam Dorje, Linghsed’s mayor, advised Loomba in a modern interview. The monks have been dependent on kerosene lamps, not only for mild but also to heat the monastery. Now, many thanks to the microgrids, the room the place they perform the prayer ceremonies has mild. Pupils can now study at night time, and the satellite Net hyperlink, which was energetic right until 2019 when the services stopped, authorized college students to keep up to date on news. The local govt installed a mobile tower this year—which has enabled the village to have cellular services and Net accessibility.

3 bright light bulbs hang in a colorful monastery.
Monks using the lights within the Lingshed Monastery’s primary prayer room the place monks perform pujas.Sonam Dorje

Just after IEEE Intelligent Village and GHE engineers installed the microgrids, Loomba says, the villagers approached another organization and questioned it to set up additional of them.

Some villagers now use space heaters throughout the winter season at household alternatively of kerosene lamps. Some even procured televisions.

The mayor advised Loomba that the villagers now want to focus on motivating their little ones to pursue better training.


Touring from Leh to Lingshed was pretty a feat in advance of design of the highway started in 2017.

Kumagi explained the trek in her 2016 Spectrum post. The group traveled the to start with leg of the trip to Lingshed in an SUV. “The two-lane highway heading out of city is winding but rather easy,” Kumagi wrote. “As soon as the pavement runs out at the village of Wanla, the hairpin turns turn out to be additional regular, and the rate slows down significantly.”

Not able to drive the rest of the way, the group loaded its baggage onto donkeys. The engineers trekked alongside them. They traveled via two mountain passes up to the village. That portion of the journey by itself took practically ten several hours.

The new highway was designed by the Border Streets Organisation, a design program operate by the Indian Armed Forces.

The unpaved, one-lane route lets for 4-wheel drive Jeeps to vacation via the mountain move, but it truly is not extensive ample to accommodate vans or buses.

Donkeys carrying packs walk along a narrow mountain road

An unpaved road winds through a mountain. Blue skies and clouds in the background.

Worldwide Himalayan Expedition

Many thanks to the highway, “it became easier for the people to transport elements and healthcare supplies,” Dorje says. Individuals now can be transferred to the medical center if they will need urgent healthcare notice.

Due to the fact of major snowfall in the winter season, the route is open up only from June to Oct. The highway must be regraded each spring—which supplies villagers with careers and a steady revenue, Loomba says.

The highway will support catch the attention of tourists to the spot and increase local businesses’ income, he advised The Institute. The route is presently becoming extended to reach Zanskar Valley, an up-and-coming vacationer location, he says. The valley is 40 km from Lingshed and is acknowledged for its scenic landscape. It commonly will take 4 days for vacationers to reach it from Lingshed, and they have to walk across the frozen Zanskar River—which can be hazardous, Loomba says. Many thanks to the highway, the trip from Lingshed to the valley will take about ten several hours, he says.

Loomba says he by no means could have foreseen how massive of an affect electrification would have on Lingshed.

“From time to time when you [take portion in] a challenge, you really don’t [envision] how [the local community] will evolve,” he says.

IEEE Intelligent Village is an IEEE Foundation supported program. Master additional about how you can aid it on the IEEE Foundation website.