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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program                                                 
Phase 1 (2005 Deadline)

Improving the Lifestyle of Villagers in Remote Areas of  Federally
Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan Using Renewable Energy 

Johnny Weiss, Solar Energy International
Ishtiaq A. Qazi, National University of Sciences and Technology
Pakistani Funding (HEC):  $100,000
US Funding:    $ 40,000
Project Dates on US Side: January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2006 (Completed)

Project Overview

This collaborative effort between Solar Energy International (SEI) and the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) was designed to provide solar pumping capabilities for six villages in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwestern Pakistan. The first stage in the project was a two-week training course presented by SEI consultant Walt Ratterman in Islamabad April 24-May 5, 2006. Walt was joined by Dipti Vaghela as an assistant instructor on photovoltaics and on the community development aspects of the project. The class participants came from a variety of backgrounds. There were several students from NGOs working in the FATA areas, Balochistan, or the earthquake affected areas (or some combination thereof), including the primary NGO for the implementation of this project, Community Motivation & Development Organization (CMDO). In addition, there were students with engineering backgrounds from the university, including one lecturer at the Electrical and Mechanical College of NUST. Finally, Grundfos, one of the primary solar pump suppliers, also sent a student.

Major Results

  • Installed solar-powered water pumping equipment in six FATA villages where residents previously had to walk long distances to obtain water
  • Provided training to community organizations and villagers on installing and maintaining the pumping systems
  • Enhanced NUST's capabilities in installing solar pumping systems, evaluating sites suitable for their use, and providing training in their operation

Progress Report Summaries

2006 September 2006 Report || November 2006 Report || January 2007 Final Report

The first week of the course provided the students with comprehensive training in solar photovoltaic systems, including the design, installation, and community development aspects of such systems, particularly in remote village environments. Each participant received a very full three-ring binder of information that included step-by-step procedures on all aspects of these issues. The binders also included a reference library with data sheets on solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and batteries, which will serve as a practical tool to help each student in their solar assessment and design projects. In addition to the lecture component, the class also had the opportunity to participate in hands-on work, as NUST made available to the class solar modules, wiring, and digital multi-meters. The participants were able to familiarize themselves with the various characteristics of the panels, the effects of various mounting angles and shading, and the proper way to measure the various voltages and currents. At the end of the week, the students were quite comfortable with assessing the loads and completing a design of these systems.

The second week was spent on solar pumping training. Another thick three-ring binder was provided to the participants on this subject. The first part of the week was spent on developing the concepts learned in the first week of the class, building on them to cover solar pumping in particular. The concepts covered included the required site assessment work and field measurements, well drilling and testing details, and design. Following the design section, a significant amount of time was spent on becoming familiar with the solar pump data from various manufacturers that the project is most likely to come in contact with. Since all of the manufacturers present their information differently, considerable time was spent with each. The students then worked on many solar pumping examples, using real data from real villages in FATA that were proposed for this and continuing projects. In working through the design, the group developed guidelines for determining whether installing a solar-powered water pumping system in a given village would be easy, difficult, or economically unfeasible. The guidelines were then applied to the villages in the area and work plans were made accordingly.

In addition to receiving instruction from the primary course presenters and several guest lecturers, Assistant Professor Ahmed Sohail of NUST treated the class to a field trip at the NUST Electrical and Mechanical  Engineering College’s solar testing laboratory in Rawalpindi. There the students learned about the many projects being developed by the College, including various solar power, solar thermal, and solar pumping systems. Thanks to the logistical arrangements of NUST and CMDO, the group was also able to make a trip to the FATA area where the projects will be implemented, including one of the villages on which the design is based. As a result, they learned a great deal about the area and the needs of its people.

On the project installation side, NUST began working with CMDO in April 2006 on site surveys of potential villages, ultimately selecting Hassan Lagaday and Ali Masjid (Khyber Agency), Shabana (Mohmand Agency), Toda Cheena and Mirdu Tang (Kurram Agency), and Khurachai (Bajaur Agency). After the necessary equipment was ordered and received, the implementation phase began in November 2006 with installation of the pumping systems in Hassan Lagaday and Ali Masjid. The remaining installations were carried out in December 2006 and January 2007. As of May 2009, all the installations were reported to be still in operation, despite the security issues in the region. Even after floods affected one of the villages, the equipment continued working normally, and according to NUST there has been a significant decrease in the incidence of gastrointestinal and skin diseases among the villagers living near the installations thanks to their new access to cleaner sources of water. NUST is currently seeking additional support to expand the program and bring these benefits to more people in the region.

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