Reaching for the Sun (1992)
Client / Financial Support: Social Work and Research Centre
Duration: 15 mts
The city of Leh used to depend on a single source of power to meet its electricity requirements – the Stakhna Dam. But the dam remained frozen for six months of the year, and heavily silted during other times. It was proving to be an unreliable source of power. Other parts of Ladakh also went without electricity largely on account of the enormous expense associated with conventional electrification.
Simply laying the cables, particularly such that they can deal with heavy storms and high wind velocity makes electrifying rural Ladakh a logistical and financial nightmare. The absence of electricity results in drastically curtailed lifestyles, with particularly significant impacts on education and health. But Ladakh has a resource that many other parts of the country lack. Even during the height of the winter, Ladakh is blessed with abundant sunlight. Solar electrification was the obvious means of electrifying Ladakh.
Using the Barefoot College philosophy as explained above, SWRC trained villagers from all over Ladakh in the assembling, installation and maintenance of kits that would convert solar energy into electricity. Reaching for the sun documents this remarkable exercise.