In Bhutan, the remote community of Aja Ney in Shermuhung Gewog, Mongar was one of the last places in the country that remained without power supply. Not anymore- Aja Ney was connected with solar power on 30 December 2022.
Aja Ney is a popular sacred Buddhist site and draws thousands of pilgrims from all over the country. The community is made up of 34 households and a population of over 60, most of them elderly people and hermits who spend much of their time praying.
A day’s hike from the nearest road point, taking electricity to Aja Ney was no easy feat. Difficult terrain and the higher cost of construction made building transmission lines challenging. There were also environmental concerns as Aja Ney falls in the buffer zone of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary. It is also a critical watershed area.
The first step towards electrifying Aja Ney was taken in 2021. Led by the Department of Energy with the then Ministry of Economic Affairs, a partnership involving multiple partners- Bhutan for Life, Bhutan Foundation and GEF-Small Grants Programme implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan and Bhutan Ecological Society with support from Shermuhung Gewong, Mongar, and Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary- set out to build the 80-kW decentralized distributed generation solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Read more HERE.