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FEATURE: Explosion of solar power in Bangladesh


Bangladesh is a massively power-deficient country with peak power shortages of around 25%. More than 60% of its people do not have access to the power gridA grid is a network of transmission lines, usually to distribute electric power .. The country only produces 3500-4200 MW of electricityElectricity generation includes all technologies that turn some form of energy into useful electric energy. Electricity is a form of energy that has magnetic, radiant and chemical effects. Electric current is created by a flow of electrons. against a daily demand for 4000-5200 MW on average, according to official estimates.

Solar energySolar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics ... is an ideal solution as it can provide gridless power and is totally clean in terms of pollution and health hazards. Since it saves money on constructing electricity transmissionTransporting electric power over long distances, usually at high voltage to reduce losses. lines, it’s economical as well. Little wonder that it is becoming popular in Bangladesh. The number of households using solar panelsRegarding photovoltaic or solar panels with crystalline cells, the photoactive layer consists of serial and/or parallel interconnected solar cells which are embedded into two plastic films. A front glass protects the interior for mechanical damage. Regarding thin-film solar modules the ... has now crossed the one million mark, the fastest expansion of solar use anywhere in the world. In 2002, just 7,000 households in Bangladesh were using solar panels, but now more than one million households, or five million people, are benefitting from solar energyPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation..

The Government of Bangladesh has also grasped the solar agenda, and the Prime Minister now has a 21.6 kilowatt solar powerSolar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP). Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaics ... system for her office. Last year the Bangladesh Bank, the country’s central bank, installed a solar system on the rooftop of its main building to reduce pressure on the demand for electricity. This solar system, expected to last about 20 years, has an 8-kilowatt capacity.

The Government of Bangladesh has also withdrawn all the import tariff and VAT (Value Added Tax) on the raw materials of solar panels for the current fiscal year. In his budget speech, the Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit said that Bangladesh gets about 250 to 300 sunny days on average per year (rainy days are not included). He added that since the maintenance cost is very low, we could massively increase the use of solar powerPhotovoltaics (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting sunlight directly into electricity. Solar power is sometimes used as a synonym to refer to electricity generated from solar radiation. in the country.

The solar panelRegarding photovoltaic or solar panels with crystalline cells, the photoactive layer consists of serial and/or parallel interconnected solar cells which are embedded into two plastic films. A front glass protects the interior for mechanical damage. Regarding thin-film solar modules the ... providers in Bangladesh are now expecting the price of batteries and accessories to drastically reduce. In fact, solar panels and accessories imported from countries in the developed world like Germany cost a lot, but the same panels manufactured in China cost much less.

The requirements of power in a typical Bangladeshi home are very small – almost 1/10th that of a Western home. The government owned Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) has been providing financing for these small solar panel projects in the country.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been at the forefront in funding solar energy in Asian countries like Thailand, India and now Bangladesh. The ADB and the Government of Bangladesh have recently signed technical assistance grant agreements of $3.3 million to provide renewable energyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. in rural areas with no access to grid electricity.

The grant will provide $25 subsidyAn entity over which the parent company has control, including incorporated and non-incorporated joint ventures and partnerships over which the parent company has control. (WRI, 2013) per Solar Home Systems (SHS) to a total of 80,000 low-income end-users. The assistance will also promote biomassEnergy resources derived from organic matter. These include wood, agricultural waste and other living-cell material that can be burned to produce heat energy. They also include algae, sewage and other organic substances that may be used to make energy through chemical processes.Biomass, a ..., biogasBiogas is a flammable gas that accrues from the fermentation of biomass in biogas plants., and windWind occurs due to different temperature levels in the atmosphere (troposphere) which are heated up by the sun. A typical example are the trade winds at the equator where the sun is most powerful. as alternative sources of energy. In addition, the grant will help the state-run IDCOL improve its administrative and monitoring capacities.

‘The assistance will support Bangladesh’s efforts to increase access to electricity in remote rural areas and to reduce carbon emissionsEmissions of greenhouse gases, greenhouse gas precursors, and aerosols associated with human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, land-use changes, livestock, fertilisation, etc. (IPCC) by overcoming market barriers for renewable energy development’, said Thevakumar Kandiah, Country Director of ADB’s Bangladesh Resident Mission.

IDCOL estimates that each SHS saves at least $61.80 worth of kerosene every year and reduces carbon dioxide emissionsCarbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted in several ways. Naturally through the carbon cycle and through human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution and these high ... by 375 kilograms annually as a result. Therefore, the 80,000 new SHSs to be installed through this grant assistance will bring a reduction of about 27,600 tons of carbon dioxideCarbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted in several ways. Naturally through the carbon cycle and through human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution and these high ... emissions a year.

On the other hand the government also plans to implement a mega solar project by setting up a 500 MW solar panel-based power installation with financial support from the ADB. Such a project will require a huge investment of $2-3 billion according topower ministry officials. As the lead agency, the power ministry has laid out a plan involving nine other ministries to implement this highly ambitious plan.

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Bank has set up a Tk 200 million (US$ 2.70 million) revolving fund for banks and financial institutions to give loans at low interest in the solar energy, biogas and effluent treatment sectors. A top official of the Bangladesh Bank noted that the lack of institutional financing for renewable energy is impeding effective growth and the use of environment-friendly technology.

In the capital city, Dhaka, the power department has set a pre-condition of installing solar panels on buildings applying for new connections. In the villages, solar power is even being used to operate pumps for irrigation.Today both urban city dwellers and villagers in remote areas of Bangladesh are using solar energy.

Abu Rushd Md. Ruhul Amin is a senior journalist working for the private Bangladeshi television channel ‘BanglaVision’ as a news editor. His reporting focuses on environment, development, agricultureCultivation of the ground and harvesting of crops and handling of livestock, the primary function is the provision of food and feed. and climate change issues.

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