Solar powered mini grids have been lighting up remote and hilly areas of the country where electricity is not supplied from the main/national power grid yet.
According to sources at the Power Division, right now electricity is being distributed through 12 solar powered mini grids to remote regions of the country. Another 13 are currently under production.
The per unit production cost of electricity is Tk30. The consumers are fine with paying extra to get electricity.
According to Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), it costs Tk600 per month for a family to get lighting using kerosene powered lanterns.
On the other hand, it only costs Tk400 to consume electricity through the solar powered mini grids. Even fans, refrigerators, and televisions can be run byit.
Far flung rural consumers are shifting to solar power to raisetheir standard of living,even if it costs them more,as they cannot avail electricity from the National Power Grid.The government wants to provide electricity to each and every homeby the year 2021. But remotehilly areas and islands are unable to get electricity from the main grid so
the government is working on providing electricity to people in remote regions, through the solar mini grids.
Six million households have solar home system at the moment.State Minister for Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources, Nasrul Hamid, said the government is working to bring solar powered electricity to 4.9 million more people. He hoped the work would be completed before 2021.
Mini grids arethe only viable option right now as It is not possible to connect remote areas to the main grid at the moment.
The producer can produce electricity from solar panels and store them in batteries. Producer franchiseescan bill and collect monies from customers directly as well.
Fifty percent of the mega infrastructural production cost comes from grants. Individual institutions have 20% investment in this case. The remaining 30 percent of funding is being provided by IDCOL at a low interest rate.
The plants are being built according to the design and plans of IDCOL.
The electricity is provided through 11 mini grids, also called micro or nano-grid systems. Almost 16 percent of the off-grid areas of the country are under this system.
An independent solar power plant has also been set up at Bhola’s Monpura where the mini grid has a production capacity of 177 kilowatts.
30 thousand local people are benefited by the Monpura solar power plant and significant business development has been noticed in the area.
Computer training centres, saw-mills, mechanical workshops,and furniture manufacturersare among the businesses that have been set up.
The power plant has been set up by Solar Electra Bangladesh Limited. 100 auto rickshaws are also given charging facilities at the plant.
Energy Regulatory Commission member Mizanur Rahman said, “This kind of project is worth mentioning when consumers are not getting electricity at all”.
Director General of Power cell Mohammad Hussain said “The mini grid is part of government strategy to provide electricity to off grid regions as it is not possible to connect the main grid there”.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com