New mark set for solar home system project
Author / Source : Sherpa Hossainy
Dhaka, Oct 2: The Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL) has beefed up its target for installing solar home system (SHS) to 2.5 million units by 2014, company officials said. The previous target was to set up 1 million SHSs by December 2012, which the non-bank financial institute achieved by June this year.
“If the current trend continues, we’ll be able to achieve the new target by mid-2014,” said Iqramul Hasan, programme officer (solar) of IDCOL.
According to IDCOL statistics, the solar programme has helped save more than 80,000 tonnes of kerosene in rural households, worth around $79.45 million and saved another $300 million in terms of costs of connection.
“When we achieve the new target the combined capacity of the total project will be around 155 megawatts, providing electricity to more than 1 crore people,” said Hasan.
Currently the total installed capacity of the solar project is around 52MW, which serves around 50 lakh recipients.
The financier has already meted out around $172 million in loans and $34.28 million in grants for installation of SHS until June. IDCOL also plans to invest another $387 million in soft loans and $45 million in grants for the SHS programme.
Easy credit facilities and subsidies have made the programme, dubbed as the fastest growing renewable energy programme in the world, a success, said Hasan.
“We provide easy to avail financial support through our partner organisations and supply quality equipments to get solar power. For the rural people who have only seen kerosene lamps, this is a big incentive,” Hasan added.
IDCOL has installed 60,142 SHSs in Sunamganj till June, which is the highest coverage by the company in a district. With 58,836 and 39,483 SHSs, Patuakhali and Satkhira are the second and third most-covered districts, the statistics showed.
There are 30 the partner organisations that help implement the IDCOL SHS project. Among the 1 million installed systems, Grameen Shakti alone installed over .6 million and Rural Service Foundation has set up over .15 million around the country.
IDCOL had been promoting dissemination of solar home systems in the remote rural areas of Bangladesh with the financial support from the World Bank, Global Environment Facility, German Technical Corporation, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank.
It started the programme in January 2003 and its initial target was to finance 50,000 SHSs by the end of June 2008.
The target was achieved in September 2005, three years ahead of schedule and $2 million below estimated project cost.
IDCOL then revised its target and decided to finance 200,000 SHSs by the end of 2009. This was also achieved by May 2009.