$2.76b solar energy plan awaits approval of PM

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$2.76b solar energy plan awaits approval of PM

A file photo shows solar panels on the Bangladesh Bank premises. The Power Division is likely to finalise a $2.76-billion plan to generate 500MW of solar power by 2015 through both commercial and social projects. — Focusbangla photo

Manjurul Ahsan

The Power Division is likely to finalise a $2.76b plan to generate 500 mega watts of solar power by 2015 through both commercial and social projects.

The plan will be placed before prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the minister for power, energy and mineral resources, for her approval, said a Power Division official.

He said, ‘Since the Asian Development Bank has back-tracked on its plan for funding the projects through a combination of grants and soft loans, the government will now implement the projects involving different funding agencies and routes including private entrepreneurs.’

According to the plan, around $1.77b investment will be required for generating 340 MW power in commercial projects and $1.0b will be required for generating 160 MW in social projects.

The commercial ventures involve solar plants which will provide 150 MW of power for irrigation, solar parks which will supply 145 MW of power to the national grid, and a solar power mini grid which will provide 25 MW of power to rural consumers.

In addition, 30 MW will be generated in commercial and residential buildings and industries.

The official said that the government would need to provide a huge amount in subsidy, even more than what is given in power purchase from diesel-run rental plants for the national grid.

In the social projects, a total of 50 MW of power will be generated in the rural health centres by the health ministry, 40 MW will be generated in remote educational institutions by the education ministry, 41 MW of power in government offices by the public works department, 12 MW of power in religious establishments by the religious affairs ministry, 10 MW of power at remote railway stations by the railway department and seven MW of power at union information centres under the local government division.

The government will also give support to the implementing agencies — both in the public and private sectors – by providing fiscal incentives for project investors and operators, exempting certain technology and equipment from import duty, land acquisition and other institutional support, the official said.

The government so far has been able to generate 55 MW of non-grid solar based power.

Another 35 MW of non-grid solar based power generation plants are in the pipeline for implementation, it was learnt.

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