50,000 new rural homes getting solar electricity every month
Reported by: UNB Connect
Reported on: Jun 26, 2012 11:55 am
Reported in: National
Dhaka, June 26 (UNB) – Some 50,000 additional households are getting solar home systems every month under the `Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project’ supported by the World Bank. More than 1.3 million solar home systems have already been installed in the rural areas of Bangladesh as solar homes systems are an economically viable solution for providing electricity in villages where grid electricity is difficult or expensive to reach, said a World Bank press release. The release said that solar home systems meet the basic electricity needs of rural people, who would have otherwise been dependent on kerosene lamps for lighting. The electricity provided from the systems has helped children spend more time studying, and new opportunities are emerging for village enterprises. Rural markets can now remain open longer hours after dark and conduct brisk businesses, thanks to the solar lights. The programme began in 2003 with an initial target of installing 50,000 systems within 5 years. That target was achieved within 2 years and the World Bank continued to provide support by mobilising additional funds. Later, other development partners joined in supporting the programme. The proposed new project will provide further support to the solar home systems and mini-grid options for increasing access to electricity in the rural areas. The proposed project is also expected to provide support for solar irrigation pumps. The Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) implements the programme through a network of 29 NGOs. Rural families buy solar home systems from partner NGOs under a micro-credit scheme. Households typically pay a down payment of 10-15 percent of the system costs, and the rest are repaid in 2-3 year period. The World Bank is committed to continue its support to the successful renewable energy programme of the government of Bangladesh and is currently preparing a new project with an aim to increase access to modern, reliable energy by households and enterprises in rural areas through renewable energy. The solar home systems consist of a solar panel, a battery, and a charge controller. The battery is charged by solar energy, which in turn provides electricity to the households. The solar home systems are improving quality of life for millions of people.
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