Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood



Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL) is a joint project of Government of Nepal (GoN) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project has been operational since 2011 after the closure of Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) with the main objective of supporting Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) to scaleup development of renewable energy projects.  


UNDP has been supporting Nepal to promote renewable energy since 1996, first, through Rural Energy Development Programme (REDP) and RERL since 2011. The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) under the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI) has been the Implementing Partner (IP) since its establishment in 1996. UNDP and AEPC supported rural communities in off-grid areas to develop more than 450 micro hydropower projects (MHPs), which directly benefited more than 100,000 households with access to electricity with financial support mainly of the World Bank. Between 2014 and 2019, UNDP and AEPC focused on promotion of larger renewable energy systems such as mini hydropower projects (>100kW), solar mini grids and solar pumps for both drinking water and irrigation with financial support of Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and UNDP. 

Since 2019, UNDP is supporting AEPC to implement Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Project Off-Grid Component through RERL. The UNDP support for AEPC in this regard was formalized in March 2020. The UNDP/RERL technical assistance (TA) primarily focuses on achieving financial closure, community mobilization, institution establishment and strengthening, construction supervision, productive energy use (PEU) promotion and capacity development for smooth operation and management of 4.8MW of mini hydropower projects (MHP) and solar/solar wind hybrid mini grids (SMG). 

Similarly, RERL implemented the Government of Japan funded a year long “Japan-UNDP Support for Transition Effort to Decarbonization (JUSTED)” project with the Japan Supplementary Budget (JSB), to contribute towards Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to achieve net-zero emissions. The project supported to rehabilitated 14 mini/micro hydropower project in the Karnali and the Sudur Paschim Provinces and solar solutions in Sarlahi and Siraha districts of the Madhesh Province. 

Major Achievements


  • 4 mini hydropower projects and 9 solar wind hybrid mini grids have been developed, ensuring reliable and quality electricity services for 6,965 households.

  • 412 community people including 112 women participated in house wiring, masonry and operation of mini hydropower plants  and solar mini grids trainings. Similarly, numerous people participated in orientation on electricity hazard and safety training.

  • A total of 2,225 cooperative members including 1,383 women have received different trainings like cooperative management, financial literacy, social mobilization, basic accounting and entrepreneurship development.

  • 19 cooperatives/users’ groups with 157 executive members of whom 31% are women have been registered to managed renewable energy projects. 424 small and medium scale enterprises including 170 or 41% led by women and employing 647 people are operational. 

JSB (March 2022 – June 2023)

  • 74,000 people in Bajura and Jumla districts have access to reliable, quality and affordable electricity after rehabilitation of 14 MHPs. 

  • 10,900 people from 2,325 households benefit from drinking water facilities with solar pumps. 

  • Demonstration of  Agrovoltaic concept in the Tinghare Solar Drinking Water Project, Sarlahi, where certain land under the 3 meters tall solar arrays brought under cultivation and integrated with fertigation for production cash crops such as tomato, elephant foot yam and marigold. 

  • 6,410 people, of whom 2,703 women, 1,029 youth and 1,199 from different indigenous communities benefited from orientation, trainings and exposer visits

9 Solar/Solar Wind Hybrid

Mini Grid constructed providing electricity access to 1,632 households

3 Mini Hydropower

Projects constructed providing electricity access to 2,703 rural households.

390 enterprises

established in solar mini grids

GESI Component

To ensure that women maximize benefit from reliable and quality electricity supply, the project has been actively promoting women’s participation in establishing and operating enterprises. To accomplish this, the project has identified potential women entrepreneurs and provided them with crucial support, including assistance in preparing business plans and entrepreneurship and skill development trainings.

Furthermore, women and men from marginalized communities are encouraged to participate in regular saving and credit schemes, enabling them to engage in additional income-generating activities. As of now, 257 Saving and Credit Groups are in operation with 4,831 members, out of which 4,470 or 93% are women and 1,612 or 33% are from disadvantage groups. These groups have so far saved NPR 26 million which is provided to members for income generating activities and the total credit flow including rollover is NPR 30 million. Over 90% of the borrowers are women and have invested mainly in vegetable farming, poultry, goat/pig rearing, etc.

Traditionally, women have not been active participants in the decision-making process of development activities although they contribute more than their share of voluntary labor for the same. However, the project has taken substantial strides towards gender empowerment and social inclusion, employing extensive effort and advocacy to engage municipal officials, users’ committees and general population. The project has provided cooperative management, financial literacy, social mobilization, basic accounting and enterprise development trainings for 2,073 members of cooperatives of whom 1,534 were women which is 61% of the total participants.

Related Materials



Project details:

Project StatusActive
Project PeriodJuly 2019 - June 2024
Geographic CoverageSelected municipalities of Baitadi, Kailali, Surkhet, Jumla, Mugu, Rukum, Rolpa,
Sindhuli, Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu, Morang, Taplejung and Panchthar districts
Focus AreaEnergy, Environment, Climate and Disaster Risk Management
Implemented byAlternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC)
of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation
Donors:Asian Development Bank (ADB)


ContactUNDP focal point

Pragyajan Yalamber Rai
Portfolio Manager
United Nations Development Programme
UN House, Pulchowk, Lalitpur
GPO Box 107, Kathmandu, Nepal
Tel: +977-1-5523200
Project Focal Point

Mr. Satish Gautam
National Programme Manager
AEPC/RERL, Khumaltar, Lalitpur
Tel: 00-977-1-5547609
Government focal point

Mr. Nawa Raj Dhakal
National Project Director
AEPC/RERL, New Baneshwor, Kathmandu
Tel: 00-977-1-4498013