Taking light to the Highlands

Business Bhutan | Tshering Pelden | June 20, 2023

The estimated cost for implementing solar energy in three villages of Lunana amounts to around USD 2.55 million

The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, (MoENR) Loknath Sharma, said that the installation of solar energy in Lunana gewog has commenced, bringing electricity to numerous villages. However, three villages, namely Thangza, Tenchoe, and Dotag, are yet to receive power due to their significant size and the substantial funding required.

According to Minister Loknath Sharma, these three villages encompass a large area and require approximately 279 KW of power.

 “The estimated cost for implementing solar energy in these areas amounts to around USD 2.55 million. The government had presented a business proposal for solar energy in these regions to potential investors in Indonesia, but unfortunately, no commitments were made,” the minister said

Meanwhile, he reassured the public that discussions are currently underway to secure necessary funds for the solar installation in Thangza, Tenchoe, and Dotag.

“The government is actively seeking financial support while exploring various avenues to bring electricity to these three villages.”

During the parliamentary session’s question-and-answer session today, Member of Parliament (MP) Yeshey Dem from Khamaed-Lunana Constituency asked the minister about the status of solar installation in Lunana.

While responding to the MP’s question, the minister also highlighted  challenges faced in electrifying Lunana due to its remote location, comprising 37 villages and 180 households.

“Although a mini-hydro power project with a capacity of 500 KW was successfully implemented with a fund of Nu 500 million, it was unable to reach all areas in Lunana,” added the minister.

“Only 11 villages have received power, as we encountered difficulties in extending the grid electrification to the more remote areas,” he said.

 However, he expressed optimism about the progress made in solar energy efforts. Currently, there are nine solar clusters in operation, with installations already reaching Mendralgang school and Ramina village in Lunana. Additionally, Shangza village is scheduled to receive power this year.