There are powerful forces at work in India spanning technology, industry, government, academia and especially its people at all levels of society. IEEE Smart Village is honored to be involved in contributing to the technology and processes, whereby the people of India will take a leadership role in empowering the citizens of India and the world to have lives with affordable access to energy, water, sanitation, health care, education and jobs.

IEEE Smart Village partner, Global Humanitarian Expedition, installed solar panels for a community school in the Himalayan mountains. Date: 2015. Location: Ladakh, India. Photo by: Paras Loomba.

The participation of IEEE Smart Village in the 2015 IEEE-IEEMA INTELECT Conference & Exposition in Mumbai was an important first step. An IEEE Smart Village Plan for India has to evolve through the phases or Observe, Orient, Decide and Act in an iterative manner with the scope of the projects and their impact growing over time. IEEE Smart Village co-founder Robin Podmore took the first step in meeting with potential partners, such as the Electrical Research and Development Association (ERDA), a cooperative research institution created by the Indian Electrical Industry and Utilities with the support of Governments of India and Gujarat.

In 2016, IEEE Smart Village expanded its partnership with Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE). With this expansion, IEEE Smart Village is supporting GHE in providing clean energy access through solar power to improve the living standards of rural villages in the remote Himalayan frontiers of India.

IEEE Smart Village’s investment in GHE will specifically go toward funding access to basic electricity, through installation of energy efficient high lumen LED lights for residential lighting, solar LED street lighting for the outdoor community space, mobile charging points and customized DC HD LED TV for these villages which are typically located above 13000 ft. in the Indian Himalayas bordering countries such as Pakistan and China.

In partnership with IEEE Smart Village, GHE’s objective is to implement the renewable energy and technology solutions in a sustainable, scalable and environmentally beneficial way—leading to an overall development of the remote villages in the Ladakh and Zanskar regions of India. In August 2015, an international cast of volunteers, including IEEE members, helped set-up DC Solar microgrids, ranging in capacity from 100 watts (W) to 300 watts (W), to the remote ancient village of Shingo, nestled in Hemis National Park, in the Rumbak Valley of Ladakh, under the banner of GHE.