Over 3.5 million Solar Home Systems installed in rural areas

DHAKA : More than 3.5 million Solar Home Systems have been installed in the country’s rural areas under Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project, reports UNB.
The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development II (RERED II) Project is providing electricity to rural and remote areas through renewable energy sources.
The government-owned Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Idcol) in partnership with the non-government organisations (NGOs) is implementing the Solar Home Systems (SHSs) programme, said a World Bank media release.
The project is also replacing diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar pumps. So far, the project has installed about 140 solar powered irrigation pumps and approved financing for another 300 pumps. The solar irrigation pumps are reducing farmers’ irrigation costs.
By shifting to solar power, these irrigation pumps are also helping to save foreign exchange for importing diesel and contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) has provided US$10 million matching grant support for the solar irrigation pumps.
The RERED II project is also supporting renewable energy-based mini-grids in remote rural areas for electricity supply. 3 mini-grids for a combined capacity of 382kWp are now operational and 5 more with a combined capacity of 652kWp are under construction. The mini-grids are expected to increase economic activities in the rural areas. In addition to the financing from the World Bank, the project has mobilised grant support from the Global Partnership for Output Based Aid (GPOBA) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for the mini-grid schemes.
More than 28 million households in Bangladesh still rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking. 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 the traditional stoves. 41 NGOs have started distributing the improved cook stoves.