Spiti Solar Panel Project
In the late summer of 2006, with a grant of £2000 from the Juniper Trust, Val Pitkethly travelled with 3 volunteers to install Solar Panel lights in a small village in the Spiti area of northern India. They took 2 days to drive and 6 days to trek to reach the remote village of “Mud”, at an altitude of 3900m. The villagers mainly live off pastoral farming with a few small herds of sheep, goats and some yaks. This area of India is a high altitude desert area and very poor agriculturally.
There are plans to extend the road from Keylong to the village over the next year or so and also plans to have a small hydro scheme installed. However the problem for the villagers is that during the winter months, the temperatures are so low that everything freezes and the electricity system closes down. The villagers spend the spring and summer months mostly in their high pasture land so they need a portable system.
The team then spent 3 days putting the lights together with the villagers and explained to them how to keep the lights clean and how to do minor repairs etc. The volunteers also spent some time with the children in the village school.This area is cut off from the outside world for up to 5 months of the year depending on weather conditions. and it snowed heavily the last 2 days the team were in the village.