As fuel crisis grips Nepal, solar industry eyes growth

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KATHMANDU: After enduring endless blackouts in Nepal’s months-long and ongoing national fuel crisis, management consultant Pankaj Shrestha finally splurged on a set of solar panels for his home in Kathmandu. “First there was no cooking gas available, so we bought an electric cooker. But then there was no electricity, so how could we cook anything?” the 52-year-old asked. With power outages lasting up to 15 hours a day and the price of diesel used to power generators soaring, the Himalayan nation’s solar industry is eyeing a boom in sales. Although solar panels are unaffordable for millions of poor Nepalis, the industry is confident the crisis will spur the country’s frustrated middle-class to invest in the renewable energy. Although solar panels are unaffordable for millions of poor Nepalis, the industry is confident the crisis will spur the country’s frustrated middle-class to invest in the renewable energy. “We have already seen a 10 per cent increase each year in the number of houses using solar energy,” said Ram Prasad Dhital, chief of the state-run Alternative Energy Promotion Centre.

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