Street lights installed along the Tinkune-Maitighar road section have stopped working as solar panels for powering the lights are covered with dust.
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), which had installed solar street lights in the capital, has neither been cleaning up the panels regularly nor handing them over to the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC). The KMC has said it would regularly clean up the solar panels if the NEA hands over the street lights.
Ahead of the SAARC summit, NEA had installed 1000 solar street lights in the capital. Even when technicians say that the panels should be cleaned up at least once a month, NEA has not cleaned up the solar panels even once after installation. As a result, the dust covered solar panels have stopped working.
“We had told NEA before the SAARC Summit that we are ready to set up a separate unit in KMC, especially for the maintenance of solar street lights. But NEA has not responded to our proposal,” said Dhan Bahadur Shrestha, executive chief of KMC. He said KMC cannot clean up the panels unless NEA handovers the solar lights to it officially.
During the SAARC Summit, KMC had also installed around 100 solar street lights from its internal resources along the Lainchaur-Maharajgunj road section. KMC has been regularly cleaning the panels. Nutoon Dev Bhattarai, project manager of NEA´s Street Lights Improvement Project, said NEA has not been able to clean up the panels because it does not have hydraulic lifting machine required to clean the panels.
“The Ratnapark branch of NEA has one such machine. We have asked the branch to provide it to us. As the branch provides us the machine, we will clean up the panels,” he said, adding that the NEA is planning to hand over ownership of the solar street lights to KMC for maintenance.
“We are currently doing paperwork for the project. As soon as we are done with it, we will hand over the solar lights to KMC,” he said, adding, it may take the NEA two months to transfer ownership of the solar lights.