POWER DIVISION
Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources
Government of the Peoples Republic of the Bangladesh
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500MW Solar Power Programme

500MW Solar Power Programme

As part of the new generation expansion initiative in line with growing demand, Government has plan to enhance national power generation capacity to be 16000 MW by 2015. Expected generation from renewable sources should be then at least 800 MW as envisioned in National Renewable Energy Policy. However, estimated output per unit of renewable energy based installed capacity is far less than conventional power plants. Therefore, in order to achieve a dependable generation of 800 MW, installed capacity of renewable energy based power should be at least 1000-1200 MW. Moreover, considering a proven resources as of date, solar power should dominate in the renewable energy development initiative.

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Vision of Solar Power development through Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI)

Meanwhile ADB has declared its vision 'Asia Energy Solar Initiative (ASEI)' to develop 3000 MW solar power in Asia and Pacific Region by 2013. ADB is also keen to provide support for renewable energy development in Bangladesh.

Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) was launched by Asian Development Bank (ADB) on May 2010 aiming to create a virtuous cycle of solar energy investments in the region toward achieving grid parity. ASEI has target to assist implementing 3000 MW of solar power in Asia and Pacific region by 2013. ADB together with its partners have introduced Asia Solar Energy Forum (ASEF) as part of boarder initiative to accelerate development of solar energy. During ASEF's inaugural meeting held in Manila on 5-6 July 2010, Hon'ble Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Dr. Taufiq-e-Elahi (BB) envisioned to achieve 500 MW solar power development in Bangladesh through the initiative of ASEF launched by ADB.

The vision is targeted to be achieved through a concerted effort of Bangladesh Government involving a number of government ministries and their affiliated agencies. In addition, there would be a strong involvement of private sector (more than 50%) in the project implementation.
Under this initiative there would be two types of projects:

  1. Business type involving contribution from beneficiaries and private sector management
  2. Social Service type aiming to implement government's social commitment

The snapshot of the program is as follows:
 

Investment Projects

1.Installation of Solar Irrigation Pumps

Sponsoring Ministry: Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources Implementing Agency: IDCOL

In the FY 2009-10, the agriculture sector of Bangladesh contributed 20.16% to the GDP (Bangladesh Economic Review-2010). Out of 11 million hectares of land under rice production, modern boro rice alone covers about 4.70 million hectares and nearly 98% of this area requires irrigation. However, power shortage and low voltage affecting irrigation from the electricity operated pumps causing lower production of crops. On the other hand, there are about 1.2 Million diesel operated pumps requiring 800 Million liter imported diesel per year.Considering the energy crisis of the country and increasing price of petroleum products across the globe, it is important to explore alternative energy sources for irrigation to ensure both food and energy security.

In this context, the application of solar irrigation pump has tremendous potential especially to decrease the dependence on diesel, an expensive liquid fuel.

Solar Powered Irrigation System:

Solar powered irrigation system could be an innovative, economic and environmentally friendly solution for the agro-based economy of Bangladesh. This system mainly consists of solar panels & solar submersible pump. Solar panels utilize daily sunshine to generate electricity which in turn runs the solar pump to provide uninterrupted water supply. If a sun-tracker is used, it will help in maximizing utilization of the sunlight the panels receive. Under the proposed program, a total of 10,000 solar irrigation pumps will be installed all over the country to replace diesel based pumps. Replacement of part of agricultural pumps with Solar PV technology could save significant amount of foreign currency and would offset considerable GHG emission.

Pump Capacity

Capacity of solar irrigation pumps being used for irrigation purpose is in Bangladesh is in the range of 5-11 kW. Under the program, solar irrigation pumps with an average capacity of 8 kW will be installed which will operate at total head of 12-15 meter. The pump of this size is capable to lift 500,000 liters of water per day in local solar irradiation condition i.e. 4.5 kWh/m2/day.

Implementation Arrangement

The was implemented through Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a government owned financial institution under the Ministry of Finance. Similar to IDCOL's successful Solar Home System and Biogas Programs, it will select some NGOs, MFIs or private entities (Partner Organization or PO) to implement the program on the basis of management capacity, financial strength and micro-finance experience.

POs will be responsible for selection of areas and target customers. They will install the plants and supply electricity to the customers. They will also operate those for at least the loan period. They will collect electricity bills from the customers.

POs should use maximum diligence in selecting the appropriate size of the plant. They should make a detailed survey of the proposed sites, calculate the demand at different hours of the day and also different seasons of the year. Based on the survey, they can prepare the design of the plant which will include panel capacity, size of battery bank, need for back-up diesel generator in cloudy days etc.

IDCOL will provide necessary technical, financial and promotional support to the POs for successful implementation of the program. IDCOL will assess the proposals submitted by POs, approve those based on strict guidelines and disburse grant and soft loan to the POs. Proper installation and operation of the plants will be ensured through periodic field visits by IDCOL inspection team. IDCOL's independent Technical Standard Committee will approve the equipments to be used under the program.

2.Installation of Mini Grid Solar Power System

Sponsoring Ministry: Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources Implementing Agency: IDCOL
Bangladesh has a very good potential for supply of electricity from grid connected solar PV from kW to MW ranges. Power Division through its electric utilities and through IDCOL has vision to install solar mini grid systems in offshore islands, remote haor areas as well as other remote areas across the country. Under the proposed program, more than 1000 solar PV based mini-grid power plants with an average capacity of 25 kW will be installed in the off-grid areas of Bangladesh.

Implementation Arrangement

The solar mini grid projects will be implemented through IDCOL adopting their same business model used for SHS.

3.Solar Park

Bangladesh receives an average daily solar radiation of 4-6.5 kWh/m2. Solar power catches a good attention to provide electricity. Though the country has a big mass of population, but there are some isolated small char island which could be good for Solar park . The park will directly be connected to the grid. Nearly, 100-150MW of solar power is primarily assessed for solar park in different locations . Bangladesh Power Development Board(BPDB) will be the implementing agency.

4.Roof-top Solar Power Solution

Government has a directive to install solar panel to meet certain percentage of load demand as a pre-condition to get new electricity connection. Solar Power System will meet certain percentage of lighting and fan load demand. Aggregated 3 MWp Solar Panel already installed through out the country under the directive till June 2011. This Project aims to extend Credit facility to the Consumers as an incentive to install solar power solutions. Estimated solar power capacity addition from this project is 10 MW.

Roof-top Solar Power Solution for Commercialand Residential buildings

Sponsoring Ministry: Power Division, Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources
Implementing Agency: IDCOL/ Bangladesh Bank

Government has recently provided directive to include certain percentage of solar power in commercial and residential buildings as a pre-condition to connect to the grid. The project would largely be implemented through involvement of private sector.

A typical 10 KWp roof-top solar solution will require a roof space of about 1,000 square feet which can light around 200 no.s of energy saving lamps. If installed in 5,000 buildings in the metropolitan areas of the country, a total of 16.5 million liter diesel/year or 100,000 units of electricity/year could be saved.

Installation of Roof Top Solar Solutions at Industries

Sponsoring Ministry: Ministry of Industry
Implementing Agency: IDCOL / Bangladesh Bank

Government is trying to encourage Industries to install solar panel to meet certain percentage of their load demand from solar power. Solar Panel may be installed at the unutilized roof-top of industries. Solar Power System will meet certain percentage of lighting and fan load demand. This Project aims to extend Credit facility to the Industries as an incentive. Primarily 400 Industries have been targeted. Estimated solar power capacity addition from this project shall be 20 MW.

Implementation Arrangement

The fund will be allocated to IDCOL or Bangladesh Bank. The Project Owner will get soft loan from those financial institutions. This is one kind of support mechanism aimed to the promotion of solar energy and an attempt to buy down the cost of investment. 

 

SOCIAL SECTOR PROJECTS

1.Solar electrification at Railway Stations

Sponsoring Ministry: Railway Division, Ministry of Communication
Implementing Agency: Department of Railway

Bangladesh Railway has so far 450 Rail stations. Many stations are at remote locations lacking dependable power supply. Some stations even do not have electricity.

Part of the project component would be installing solar PV in remote rail stations. The solar PV would also power the adjacent shops and streets. Part of the component would also install solar PV roofing in existing rail stations where the large roofing is mostly unutilized.

Under the proposed project, 25 MW Solar Power systems would be installed at the remote railway stations and 5 MW Solar Power systems would be installed at the roof-top of unutilized large railway stations.

2. Solar electrification at Union Information Services Centers

 

Sponsoring Ministry: A2I Project, Prime Minster's Office
Implementing Agency: Bangladesh Computer Council

Government has taken a remarkable initiative by setting up about 4501 Information Services Centers at Union level. The Information Centers have been set up in order to ensure access to information to all citizens of Bangladesh even to a remote villager. The project has been implemented by the A2I Program administered by the Prime Minister's Office.

Since many of the unions do not have reliable electricity during day time, it would be sensible to install solar PV systems at the Union Information Centers so that the remote villagers do not suffer for electricity outage. It would also ensure self-sufficiency and quality supply of electricity to the centers.
 

3.Solar LED Street Lighting

Sponsoring Ministry: Local Government Division, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development
Implementing Agency: City Corporations and Municipalities

 

There are 6 City Corporations in the country that operates approx. 5000 km streets. There are also a number of municipalities. The street lights generally used are inefficient conventional systems. Illuminating part of the streets through Solar PV LED Street Lighting system can reduce pressure on conventional power use. According to ADB's preliminary study, 40 W, 30 W and 15 W LED Lighting System could be used. Corresponding Solar Panel size would be 100 Wp, 75 Wp and 40 Wp respectively. 33 LED units might be required to electrify 1 km street. The project is aimed to add 10 MW solar power through Solar LED.

4.Solar electrification in rural health center

Sponsoring Ministry: Ministry of Health
Implementing Agency:

It is estimated that there are 18000 rural community clinics in remote villages. However, many health units do not have either dependable supply or even electricity access. Electricity is required for operation of health units, surgery and preservation of vaccinations and medicines. The solar electrification project would thus ensure quality medical services to the rural people.

5.Installation of Solar Home System in Religious Establishments

Sponsoring Ministry: Ministry of Religious Affairs
Implementing Agency:

Most of the religious establishments like mosques, temples are operated through government and public support. Many mosques are even in very remote areas where there is no grid electricity. Those establishments have occasional electricity usage pattern through out the day depending on prayer times. Solar electrification of those religious establishments would not only reduce pressure on grid electricity but would also ensure fulfillment of government's social commitment.

6.Solar Electrification in Remote Education Centers

Sponsoring Ministry: Ministry of Education
Implementing Agency: Directorate of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education

Government has set up secondary and higher secondary level institutions in remote villages to ensure access of education to the rural people. There are also Non-governmental educational institutions. Government plans to introduce one laptop and multimedia classroom system to each school as part of modernization of education system. However, many schools do not have either dependable supply or even electricity access. The project aims to provide 7000 solar power systems to selected government and non-governmental institutions. The solar electrification project would thus ensure quality education services to the rural people.

Solar power is the most potential source among the renewable energy resources in Bangladesh. This initiative of Bangladesh Government could become a landmark success story on how government’s commitment in combination with strong support from Development Partner could achieve the. targeted renewable energy development in a developing country. The program could also evolve as a model for other developing countries who envision making a mass break-through in solar power development.Total solar power capacity addition from this project shall be 40 MW. The project would ensure quality education services to the rural people.

7. Installation of Solar Home System in Government / Semi-government offices

Sponsoring Ministry: Respective Ministries
Implementing Agency: Respective Government Agencies

Government has a directive to install solar panel at government & semi-government offices by next three years to meet certain percentage of lighting and fan load demand. Capacity will vary depending on load demand and site condition. Battery back-up support shall be for 2 hrs. Estimated solar power capacity addition from this project shall be 41 MW. PWD will implement 25 MW project at Government Offices. Remaining 16 MW will be implemented by Semi-Government Offices.

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

The ambitious vision of implementing 500 MW Solar Power Program requires Institutional capacity building support both in public and private sector. Strong R&D support also needs to be facilitated. Capacity development support for CDM project preparation is necessary. An integrated capacity development project may include all those essentials which may also include testing standardization of equipment.

ESTIMATED INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT FOR PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION

It is estimated that 2.76 b USD shall be required to implement the program. Out of which 1.77 b USD shall be required for Commercial Projects. Financial Support from Development Partners in the form of Grant and Credit (Grant 1.38 b USD and Credit 0.85 b USD) is expected amounting 2.23 b USD. Remaining financing shall be arranged from government and private sector.

PARTNERSHIP FOR IMPLEMENTATION

Following government support shall be facilitated for implementation of the Program:

  • Implementation Support
  • Fiscal Incentives for Project Investors and Operators
  • Import Duty Exemption (Full/ Partial) for certain technology and equipment
  • Land Acquisition (Project Dependent)
  • Institutional Support

It is expected that Development Partners shall extend following Technical and Financial support to facilitate implementation of the program:

 

(a)Technical Assistance (Project dependent):

  1. Project Design
  2. Preparation of Standard Procurement and Contract Documents
  3. Detail Feasibility Study
  4. Capacity Building

(b)Financial Support:

  1. Grant Support
  2. Low Interest Credit Support

WAY FORWARD

Solar power is the most potential source among the renewable energy resources in Bangladesh. This initiative of Bangladesh Government could become a landmark success story on how government’s commitment in combination with strong support from Development Partner could achieve the targeted renewable energy development in a developing country. The program could also evolve as a model for other developing countries who envisage making a mass break-through in solar power development.

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