Session 2.2: Solar Energy – It’s Not Just Electricity

June 9th, 2020

Description: When most people think of solar, they think of panels and electrons. Solar PV is great, but it’s far from all solar has to offer. Solar has opportunities across sectors, from solar thermal applications to emergency water supply and desalination, urban vertical farming that can reduce transport, concentrating solar for industrial heat and steam operations, and more. This session shed light on case studies and recommendations for extending the concept of solar energy. From the use of solar for water availability and community-scale agriculture to improving access to responsible health services in rural areas to demonstrating solar organic ranking cycle technologies for electricity generation, heating, and cooling, this session sure enlightened the audience.

Moderator: Andrew Jeffries, Director, Energy Division, Southeast Asia Regional Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Scene-Setter Talk: Andrew Jeffries, Director, Energy Division, Southeast Asia Regional Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB)

An Integrated Approach to Support Access to Energy
Presenter: Pamli Deka, Associate Director, Energy Program, World Resources Institute India

Electricity is a basic requirement for providing health services but many geographies lack in a reliable, accessible and sustainable forms of energy. Where electricity is available, power quality is poor and diesel generators come are used. The on-going pandemic further impresses the need for robust health, water, sanitation infrastructure in the developing world. World Resources Institute (WRI) is working across multiple geographies in India to develop an integrated approach involving multiple government and non-government stakeholders to improve the energy access situation of the health sector by exploring Renewable energy solutions.

The current approach of government departments to work in silos has not yielded in an integrated development approach resulting in gaps in the electrification process of the health sector.

This presentation by WRI elaborated on how to build an integrated approach for electrifying the health sector. It used examples from WRI’s work with health partners in India and East Africa. And focused on the four key components of the ecosystem – data, technology, finance and policy.

With this approach, different agencies - international and national development organizations can come together to address the problems of power deficit for the health sector while ensuring the quality health services. Making it possible to achieve the SDG outcomes for good health and well being (SDG 3) and for clean water and sanitation (SDG6).

Solar Organic Rankine Cycle Technology for Electricity Generation, Heating and Cooling: A New Pathway for Sustainable Development in Himalayas and Terai Regions of Nepal
Presenter: Suresh Baral, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering, Pokhara University

Solar organic Rankine cycle technology (SORC) uses thermal energy from the sun to produce electricity. In addition, it provides hot water, space heating, and cooling for people living in Himalayas and Terai regions of Nepal. Furthermore, it displaces the need of using kerosene or other traditional sources for lighting homes in remote areas of Nepal. Overall, when this technology will be fully matured, it could be one of the appropriate technologies for the sustainable development of the country. The useful approach for financing a solar ORC system in Nepal will be by providing start-up and working capital loans. In the preliminary stages of ORC market development, it is important to provide financial support to producers to develop a market and for working capital. On the other hand, co-financing should be provided for specific promotional campaigns targeted either geographically or at specific stakeholder groups, such as by banks.

Renewable Energy-enabled Community-scale Agriculture: Evidence from Gram Oorja's Work
Presenter: Anshuman Lath, Director, Gram Oorja Solutions Private Limited

The presentation discussed some initial interventions in community-scale solar pumping for agriculture. Preliminary learnings suggested that the approach is suitable for remote communities. Scaling these interventions holds promise and can facilitate further investments at the nexus of energy, water, and agriculture, accruing benefits for the communities.


  • Roy Torbert, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Roman Vakulchuk, Senior Researcher/Dr, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI)