Guest post by
Lt Col Vivek Mundkur (retd)
Vivek Mundkur next to his windmill
It was a symbolic victory for decentralised electric supply: the installation of a windmill and solar panels
to light up a monastery at Komic, Himachal Pradesh located at 15000ft. Even though the State Electricity Board has stretched power lines, at great expense, over high mountains to this tiny village , the hydroelectric power shuts down for much of the year due to subzero temperatures !
Ecosphere , an NGO working in Spiti Valley asked Col Vivek Mundkur to solve the problem by installing his 1400 watt wind – solar hybrid on top of the Komic Monastery at 15000 ft altitude. Mundkur assembled a small team of ex servicemen to help him. Capt Afzal Amdani and Gautam Deshmukh joined him at Manali for the trip to Spiti Valley.
pLacing the windmill
This is perhaps the highest human habitation in the world to be electrified in this way. Lamas became solar engineers overnight helping to connect solar panels, windmill and batteries to 60 LED lamps
in the monastery and the village.
There was much enthusiasm , and an air of solemnity as they installed the windmill , with the powerful Buddhist mantra ” Om mani padme hum “, painted on the blades . The painting was done by thanka painter, Lama Thukten and volunteer artists.
Sacred symbols have been painted on the windmill blades
Like the traditional Tibetan prayer wheel
, the windmill now rotates and spreads positive energy of the prayer into the surroundings, even as it pushes positive electrons into the batteries !!!
Solar cells at the monastery
Another innovation, the pedal generator was attached to a battery so the lamas could do a workout and charge the batteries at the same time , in addition to the solar panel, to light up the main temple and kitchen. They promised to pedal for at least 10 minutes before a meal !!!
Images – copyrighted Vivek Mundkur