"Spiti Off the Grid" is one of the most challenging yet ambitious projects that Ecosphere has initiated. The objective is to develop
a model of decentralised energy and enable the power starved community with green energy which is continuous and self managed. The initiative aims at providing appropriate renewable technologies to most of the villages of the Spiti valley over the next 5-7 years to enable the entire region to be self reliant for its power needs.
The objective is also to empower the communities with the knowledge that the development of alternate/renewable power is extremely simple and ecologically sensitive than the commonly followed model of promoting big hydro power that the state has adopted. Spiti's fate has already been decided on this front by the Govt as almost 800 MW of hydro power projects have been assessed/approved in the Spiti river all the way to its confluence with the Sutlej at Khab. It is imperative that the local community is able to defend its fragile ecology by rejecting the development of big dams in the region and at the same time propose an alternate to the govt.
In the year 2011 Ecosphere initiated a couple of projects to enable the realisation of our objective to have 'Spiti off the grid'.
Demul village solar power plant was the first experiment that was undertaken in collaboration with Sunlit Futures (A solar power company based out of Auroville) and Human Wave Italia who partially supported the funding of this initiative. Demul village is one of the remotest villages in the Spiti valley and is situated at an altitude of 4350 mts above sea level. The idea was to provide sustainable and clean energy utilising the generous resource that is available in plenty in the region – Sun.
With the villagers showing keen interest in setting up the plant and making both financial as well as physical contributions to
its implementation it was decided to provide 3 lights to the 50 houses in the village. The capacity of the plant is 2 KW with further scope of increasing the capacity as per the needs and demand of the villagers. The village community entirely manages the plant and collects a monthly maintenance charge which is then deposited into a community account in the local bank for future replacements and general maintenance.
Wind Solar Pedal Hybrid at Komic – Said to be the highest
hybrid plant of this nature in the world the triple hybrid system is a unique initiative to experiment on multiple renewable technologies in some of the harshest climatic conditions on earth.
This plant has been set up in one of the highest monasteries and villages in the world. Situated at an altitude of 4580 mts above sea level, the Komic monastery is one of the toughest habited places. The entire plant is a mix of multiple technologies. The plant has a capacity of 1.5 KW – with a 1000 W windmill, 400 W of solar power and a 100 W pedal powered generator.
The plant is completely managed and run by the monastery and a monthly amount is collected from all the monks who benefit from the power being generated. This amount is deposited in an account with a local bank and the funds saved shall be used for maintenance and future expansion of the plant.
The 1000 W windmill (horizontal axis) based on the technology as promoted and propagated by Hugh Piggot, has been set up in collaboration with Col Vivek Mundukur from Pune whose small home scale enterprise has been trying to promote this simple yet effective technology in the western region of the country.
Ecosphere aims at setting up another 2-3 similar plants in 2012 and is currently looking at generating the necessary funds and other requisite resources for its effective implementation.