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$78m WB loan to add 480,000 solar home systems

  • Published at 08:32 pm June 30th, 2014

World Bank has given $78.4m additional financing to further scale-up support for the solar home systems (SHS) programme of Bangladesh.

The project will help install an additional 480,000 solar home systems that has emerged as a viable electrification option for areas without grid access to electricity.

The credit for the additional financing to the Bangladesh Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development II (RERED II) Project is provided from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s soft loan arm, said a press release yesterday.

Additional Secretary of Economic Relations Division Arastoo Khan and Acting Head of World Bank Bangladesh Christine E Kimes signed the agreement in this regard on behalf of their respective organisations. Implemented as a public-private partnership, the SHS programme is currently installing over 70,000 solar home systems every month, making it the fastest growing SHS programme in the world.

In Bangladesh 3 million systems have already been installed with support from World Bank and other development partners.

“Together, Bangladesh and the World Bank are scaling up a program that delivered development results for millions of rural Bangladeshis,” said Arastoo Khan, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations Division.

“This repeater project is building up on our efforts to support the government’s vision of providing universal access to electricity.”

Christine E Kimes, acting head of World Bank Bangladesh said: “This is a proven model that works. Investing in electricity in rural areas empowers both men and women, leading to increased income and growth opportunities and reducing poverty.”

Currently, only 42% of the people in rural Bangladesh have access to electricity, and reliance on the grid alone will not achieve the government’s vision of universal access by 2021.

The benefits of using solar homes systems include increased study time for children, empowerment of women through knowledge from TV viewing, income generation from mobile phone recharging services, as well as contribution to emissions reduction as a result of kerosene replacement.

The project has also started dissemination of improved cook stoves with a target to provide clean cooking solutions to over 1m rural households. Access to clean cooking benefits women and children in particular, reducing respiratory diseases.