Solar Energy Utilization in Kargil and Ladakh: The Twin Success Stories in Jammu & Kashmir

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The Kargil Renewable Energy Development Agency (KREDA) has been implementing various renewable energy programmes in Kargil. One of the programmes is the solar thermal scheme. The scheme has been launched especially to accelerate widespread use of solar thermal systems for heating, cooking, and steam generating applications, as well as to bring into use the solar passive techniques in building design. Introduction of the various solar thermal systems in Kargil will surely reduce/ conserve the onsumption of conventional energy through saving of electricity and fossil fuels in local and commercial buildings.

The following solar thermal systems have been promoted under the Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative (LREI) programme in Kargil:

ƒ Solar Evacuated TubeCollector (ETC) based water heating systems
ƒ Solar greenhouse for vegetable production during autumn and winter (CGH)
ƒ Solar dish-type cooker.

Solar Water Heating Systems

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, has sanctioned 10,000 m2 collector areas to be covered in Kargil under water heating system. As per the directions from the MNRE, KREDA has been installing the systems on subsidy basis, which are as follows:

ƒ 60 per cent off for residential use
ƒ 90 per cent off for government buildings
ƒ 40 per cent off for commercial buildings.

ETC-based solar water heating system has been found to be very useful in Kargil, especially in winter months when the temperature falls tremendously (Picture 1). Hot water is required for all domestic purposes, such as bathing, washing, cleaning and cooking, etc. ETC-based water heating systems installed in houses in Kargil using solar energy as fuel for heating water can save a significant amount of fuel apart from improving the quality of life of the beneficiary and reducing the environmental pollution. The demand for solar water heating (SWH) system is rising day by day.

Picture 1: Solar water heating systems installed in Kargil

Solar Green Houses

The best and the most favourable solar thermal system among the beneficiaries of solar thermal components is the ‘Solar Green House’. The villagers in Kargil typically grow vegetables in open fields and are constantly plagued by pests and disease. Moreover, the season for growing vegetables is very limited. During the winter season mercury drops even to –30°C in Kargil and adjacent places, this makes cultivation impossible. Introduction of greenhouse technology in Kargil through KREDA is a step which has helped the local people to a large extent.

KREDA has so far constructed 3,250 green houses in Kargil (Picture 2). The demand for green house, especially for commercial green house, in Kargil is so high, that the sanctioned numbers of green houses could not meet the demand, and the agency has submitted a new proposal for green houses in the MNRE.

Picture 2: Solar green houses installed in Kargil

KREDA is also helping the greenhouse beneficiaries and other members from different villages in understanding the sustainable development through renewable sources of energy. KREDA is working in Kargil-Main, Northern Zone Kgl, TSG-Central Kargil and Zanskar region to increase incomes and promote food security through smallholder production (through green houses) and employment generation among the people.

Solar Steam Cooking/Direct Cooker

KREDA has also some direct cooking and steam cooking systems already sanctioned by the MNRE under its ST Scheme. The agency will be installing the demonstration plants soon. There would be training for beneficiaries of solar thermal systems and for other public as well. KREDA has been trying its best to achieve a remarkable growth in the contribution of solar thermal renewable energy in the district.

For successful implementation of the programme and for big mass awareness regarding solar thermal systems, KREDA has organized various training programmes in Zanskar and Kargil. The participants were informed of various schemes of the MNRE, especially solar thermal projects. Sanctioned schemes of the Ministry which are under implementation of KREDA were also discussed.

Commercial green house installed in district Leh, Ladakh
Solar steam cooking systems installed in district Leh, Ladakh

Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency

Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative was sanctioned by the MNRE, Government of India, on June 1, 2010. An amount of `32 crore was allocated for the solar thermal projects consisting of solar water heaters, solar dish cookers, commercial and domestic greenhouses, and solar community cooking systems.

The Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA) being the nodal agency of the ministry in Leh District of Jammu & Kashmir was given the responsibility of implementing the project.

Solar water heating system installed in Leh, Ladakh

Leh District is the northernmost district of India sharing two international borders with China and Pakistan. Situated at an altitude of more than 11,000 ft this region is cut-off from the rest of the country for more than six months each year. Temperatures range from 30°C to –30°C in this region. With extremely harsh climatic conditions any productive work can only be done in summers making six months of winters unproductive for any physical work.

Inspite of these hardships, the highly dedicated team of LREDA has completed most of the targets of the project within the stipulated time (Table 1).

Table 1: Details about the targets of the LREDA project

The MNRE has now enhanced the target to include additional 7,500 units of solar water heating systems and 500 commercial green houses to be completed by December 2017.

Source: Akshay Urja Magazine, MNRE