Bangladesh: Solar home systems light up 50,000 rural homes every month

Every month more than 50,000 rural households access electricity through the solar home systems (SHS) program of the government, supported by the World Bank (WB) and other development partners. Implemented by the government-owned Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) through a partnership with the non-government organizations (NGOs), Bangladesh's SHS program is a successful example of public-private partnership (PPP).

The project named the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development II (RERED II) is continuing to provide access to electricity in rural areas of Bangladesh through renewable energy sources. The project has provided access to electricity to over 377,000 households in remote rural areas where grid electricity cannot reach easily.

 

Nextsteps of a successful program 

To meet the demand of the growing program, the World Bank is currently processing an additional financing to the project, in response to the Government's request for more funding. The additional financing will further scale-up support to the successful SHS program and provide support for sector technical assistance when approved by the World Bank board.

The RERED II project is also supporting renewable energy-based mini-grids in remote rural areas to provide electricity. A number of new mini-grids with a combined capacity of about 1MW are currently under consideration for financing.

Targeting rural growth centers, the mini-grids are expected to contribute to increased economic activities in rural areas. The project has mobilized grant support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide grant support to the mini-grid schemes in addition to the credit support from the International Development Association (IDA), the concessionary lending of the World Bank.

 

Irrigation pumps and more

The project also supported installation of around 100 solar irrigation pumps replacing diesel-run pumps. The solar irrigation pumps are reducing costs of irrigation to the farmers and also helping to save foreign exchange for importing diesel. By providing a renewable source, the solar irrigation pumps are also contributing to reduced green-house gas emissions. The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) has also provided US$10 million matching grant support to solar irrigation pumps component.

More than 28 million households in Bangladesh still rely on traditional biomass fuels burnt in inefficient stoves. With support from the RERED II project, IDCOL has embarked upon the improved cook stoves program that will benefit rural women and children, who are exposed to indoor air pollution from inefficient stoves. 49 NGOs have been selected by IDCOL for implementing the cook stove program, and implementation is expected to start shortly.

 

Source: http://observerbd.com/details.php?id=16047

 

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