In the days following Nepal's 7.8-magnitude earthquake on April 25, as massive power outages complicated relief efforts, Sandeep Giri
coworkers were shaken but determined to help.
Giri, who was born and raised in Nepal, is the CEO of Gham Power, a solar company that's been operating in Nepal for the last five years.
After the earthquake, Gham Power's
employees sprung into action to deploy solar power systems that could power lights and mobile charging stations for relief workers and the displaced.
Besides basic needs like medical attention, food, water, and shelter, electricity is a major issue in the wake of a disaster, says Giri
"It happened when we had staff in our office," says Giri
"We have seen rural clinics operated from outside their building because it was too dark inside to provide basic health services like cleaning up a wound, applying medicine," says Giri
As Nepal turns to recovery and rebuilding, Giri
colleagues have a more far-sighted vision for the country and renewable energy infrastructure.
Prior to the quake, Nepal did not have a stable grid.
Nearly a quarter of the population lived without electricity, and many more endured up to 16 hours a day of blackouts because there is simply not enough power to go around-even businesses with diesel generators still face fuel shortages and high costs.
"We have always believed, especially in a mountainous country like Nepal, that implementing distributed energy systems like microgrids is the most robust way of building a sound and resilient energy infrastructure," says Giri
"It's good for the local infrastructure, and good for the planet."
This is something Gham Power
is already familiar with.
Since 2010, it has completed more than 600 projects of varying sizes at such locations as a hospital, an Everest research station, and the U.S Embassy
The company has also been establishing microgrids in rural areas to help power small villages.
"We feel quite confident in our capacity to execute quickly and efficiently," says Giri