Blog #5 - Energy Issues

As my time wears on in Nepal and the excitement of living in a foreign land diminishes, I find myself becoming more aware of the struggles this country is dealing with regarding energy.   
I have taken energy for granted my whole life. I have never experienced a blackout. I have never been turned away at a gas station, and I can always find somewhere to refill my barbeque’ s propane tank. The situation here in Nepal is drastically different. 
As the trade embargo with India continues, gasoline and cooking fuels have become scarce.  The lineup at the gas station now stretches for dozens of city blocks. I walked outside one morning to discover an impromptu, unmanned lineup for cooking fuel: hundreds of bottles and make-shift containers were tied to a string that stretched down multiple city blocks, assumingly to keep people’s place in line. Restaurants that I had previously enjoyed eating at now have signs saying, “Closed: No Fuel” follow. Some have even resorted to burning scrap construction lumber to stay open.  The restaurants still open now offer a “No Fuel Menu”, which consists of either momos (dumplings) or chow mein noodles, both of which I have had to learn to love out of necessity.  
And while the fuel crisis wears on, the electricity supply continues to be intermittent. We are receiving roughly 12 hours of electricity per day. The need for backup power is paramount and I think solar energy has a significant role to play. Almost every inhabited building I see has at least a few photovoltaic panels, in addition to their solar hot water system.  I looked at a few systems and upon closer inspection, it is apparent that minimum installation standards are not being followed.  I am hopeful that with the help of OffGridU, we can improve this.