Solar Microgrids in the Himalayas

This fundraising effort benefits one of the most remote populations in the Northern Himalayas in a region known as Ladakh, the Land of High Passes. Stretching across the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent and is steeped in millennia of history, religion and culture.

In 2014, the Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) set out to connect the rural populations of Ladakh to sustainable power systems: solar microgrids. Prior, these remote populations were unconnected from electricity and had to rely on dirty sources of fuel such as kerosene and wood for all of their household energy consumption. Now, these households have solar power that can support basic levels of household consumption - they can replace their kerosene lamps with lightbulbs. This simple expansion of utilities has substantial effects on household health and wellbeing. Studies show electrification has a positive impact on education and income in rural communities, particularly for women, by allowing children to spend less time collecting fuel and more time studying.

GHE supports the development of rural Ladakh in more ways than one. In addition to the energy access initiative, GHE has started two parallel missions that expand education and create mountain homestays. The combination of energy access, education and mountain homestays promotes long term sustainable development that will help strengthen and preserve this community and culture in the Northern Himalayas.

This July, I’m joining a 20 person GHE team to bring solar energy to Shadé, a small village in Ladakh and the most remote in the Northern Himalayas. We'll trek 150km through the Zanskar Valley at altitudes of 14,000 -17,000ft to reach Shadé, which is inaccessible by road. Once there, we'll install a solar microgrid, power distribution and household lighting throughout the village. The end microgrid will be operated and maintained using a prepaid system set up by the local people of Shadé.

The funding goal of $3300 USD will be used toward internal costs of getting from Leh, a central city in Ladakh, to Shadé and a share of the costs of the solar microgrid. Thanks to very generous offline contributions, the updated go-fund me goal is $2600.

National Geographic made a documentary on last year's trek to the Phugtal Monastery that will air this spring. An Indian TV segment on last year's trip is currently online:

My sincere thanks for your generous contribution.

Donations (45)

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  • Sally Gonzalez
    • $80 
    • 6 yrs
  • Scott Nguyen
    • $25 
    • 6 yrs
  • Vijay Dandapani
    • $20 
    • 6 yrs
  • Joel White
    • $20 
    • 6 yrs
  • Luke Easley
    • $50 
    • 6 yrs
See all


Doug Mackenzie
Silver Spring, MD

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