The season finale of National Geographic’s TV series Breakthrough, at 10 p.m. EDT on 6 June, features the efforts of IEEE Smart Village and partner Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) to bring solar power to a remote monastery and village in the Himalayas that had no electricity.
IEEE Smart Village, which aspires to bring electricity to 50 million people during the next decade while providing jobs to local communities, is a priority initiative of the IEEE Foundation. Volunteers work with entrepreneurs to help them set up micro-utilities, using solar panels and other renewable-energy technology to power homes, businesses, and schools.
Now in its second season, Breakthrough shines a light on the world’s leading scientists, cutting-edge innovations, and technological advancements that are changing lives and reshaping our world. The show airs in 171 countries and is available in 45 languages.
The Smart Village episode, filmed in August, follows a team of volunteers who made the arduous trek across the Himalayans to install 14 solar-powered DC microgrids at the Lingshed monastery and village, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, India. GHE founder Paras Loomba led the project. The IEEE Foundation provided the funding.
“National Geographic certainly captured the drama of this project, including the challenge of traversing rough terrain with solar panels in tow and staving off altitude sickness as well as training the village monks on how to operate the microgrids,” says Mike Wilson, IEEE Smart Village senior program manager. “By giving villagers access to electricity as well as entrepreneurial opportunities, these volunteers have made a lasting impact on people’s lives.”