Lighting up Aja Nye

The construction began in Oct 2021

The 8𝟎 𝐀𝐖 s𝐨π₯𝐚𝐫 𝐏𝐕 𝐬𝐲𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐦 𝐚𝐭 π€π£πš 𝐍𝐲𝐞 in 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐫 was commissioned on 30 December last year

JAMYANG CHOPHEL | Thimphu
The first-ever 80 Kilowatt (kW) Decentralized of Solar PV system at Aja Nye in Mongar, which is first of its kind in the country, was virtually launched by Lyonpo Loknath Sharma in presence of community members and partners on 30 December last year.

A press release from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources states that the construction of the first Decentralized Solar PV system of 80 Kilowatts (kW) in the rural community of Aja will now benefit 34 households who have lived without electricity till date including thousands of pilgrims who visit the sacred site annually.

It states that the 80-kW system is constructed in Dawathang, Pema Yangdzong and Dungkar Choling with the funding from Bhutan For Life, Bhutan Foundation, and GEF-Small Grants Programme UNDP. It was implemented by the Department of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Bhutan Ecological Society (BES).

The construction, which began on 20 October 2021 and completed on 30 November 2022, was undertaken by Nawang Builders Private Limited. The project cost around Nu 31.5 million.

β€œAja Ney is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites under Shermuhung gewog in Mongar Dzongkhag. It is located within the core zone of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS).

The nearest road leading to Aja terminates at a place called Yarab, which is 20 kilometers away from the Shermuhung gewog center with an additional six hours hike on foot to reach the community.

Since the community is in the core zone of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) which is one of the protected areas (PAs), the community was largely dependent on fuelwood for heating and cooking.

β€œI have lived my entire life here. Even doing daily chores like cooking at home is very difficult. To see electricity light brighten up my home during my lifetime is very reassuring,” said 69-year-old Tshering Yangzom.

This Solar PV system is first of its kind and provides an opportunity for replication in other parts of the country.

β€œI have learned so much from this project and now if we replicate this elsewhere, the department can really put an optimized version of this kind of project,” said Galey Dorji, Project Manager of the Department of Energy, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.

β€œIt will not only reduce our reliance on fuelwoods and traditional lamps, but will also create employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth through ecotourism in the community,” he said.