Tucked away in the Himalayan foothills of northeast India and frequently battered by strong winds and landslides, the isolated village of Hengbung is well-accustomed to prolonged power cuts.
But the village’s challenging terrain - it is mountainous, hard to reach, and criss-crossed by streams - is now proving an opportunity to ensure reliable electricity for the community.
A pumped-storage hydropower system fitted with solar-powered pumps started operating in the village last July - the first such project in India to integrate hydro with solar.
Built on a stream, the facility features two interconnected reservoirs and essentially acts as a giant water battery, which stores renewable power for release later during grid outages or when demand is higher.
At least 350 people in Hengbung - located in Manipur state - now have consistent lighting in their homes and streets as a result of the system, said the Foundation for Environment and Economic Development Services (FEEDS), an NGO involved in the initiative.