RIDS - Nepal

Modular Pico-Hydropower Plant Project for Mohari Village in Jumla

Contract: 2017.14
Small Hydropower

Modular Pico-Hydropower Plant Project for Mohari Village in Jumla

Project Type :

Pilot Project


Technology :

Small Hydropower

Country :



Project Status :


Project Start :

January 2018


End of Project :

Planned 2020

Partner :

RIDS-Switzerland, Reitnau,, Alex Zahnd

Mohari Pico Power Plant Operator Training_2_small_web.jpg
  Mohari Village Stove and Light inside Homes_6_small_web.jpg

Swiss Contribution

The design, through RIDS, is being done with support from industrial partners in Switzerland, Nepal and the USA, as well as in consultation with the Mohari village leadership. The key Swiss partners are RIDS-Switzerland, Studer Innotec SA, Chur HTW University of Applied Sciences and FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland.


Nepal has historically built hydropower, pico and micro-grids to electrify remote communities. However, these grids are often oversized, which makes them too expensive for the initially impoverished villages to maintain and manage effectively. Within this project, Mohari village will acquire electrification through a mini-grid powered by the local water resource. A prototype of a modular pico-hydro system that can be scaled to a village’s social, skills, and economic capacities will be built. It is expandable in increments of 1.5 kW and is designed for reduced operations and maintenance costs. It includes a prepayment system to ensure revenue for its performances and its future expansion. The project will employ smart dump loads to direct excess power for useful purposes, e.g. generating hot water for showers, illuminating greenhouses, heating a biogas digester. The system uses DC energy storage to support a much larger surge capacity to start motors for economic expansion. Local personnel will operate and maintain the system, while learning new skills. The participation of villagers through their voluntary physical work and provision of all necessary local resources, equipment and land, enables this project to have a high degree of local user ownership.


The pico-hydropower plant has been running non-stop since November 2018, providing indoor lighting for all 42 homes in the Mohari village, as well as several smart dump loads such as heating rooms, biogas digester and water. The six PowerSpout Pelton turbines generate around 6.6 kW, in a first step. Two local operators were trained to operate and maintain the system.


Case study report on the turbines installation. Project video is online at (also available in Nepalese).