Solar power is booming in Bangladesh, as people throughout the country invest in personal home systems with help from microcredit banking. Business owners in particular are able to stay open longer and make use of a reliable electricity supply. In total around 1 million people in a country where most rural communities are not connected to a grid, have installed different types of solar energy systems with help from the government, NGO’s and private companies. The most important player among them – Grameen Shakthi, a sister of the nobel prize winning Grameen Bank, which allows people to pay for these systems through small affordable payments.
The average solar home system costs $24 for a 20 watt solar set, which includes solar panels, battery, regulator, fluorescent lamps and LED lights. There are also different kinds of configurations priced lower or higher depending on individual needs. According to Al Jazeera, 41 per cent of Bangladesh’s 142 million people have access to electricity from the national system, which uses mostly fossil fuels. Without these types of solar power projects most rural citizens would not get connected to that system for another 5 or more years.
For its part the government hopes to stimulate even more investment and expansion of solar energy use in Bangladesh. Foreign investors in this sector receive tax exemptions and any foreign worker involved in solar energy gets 3 years income tax free. They have also made it mandatory for all newly constructed commercial or residential buildings to be equipped with solar systems.
Source: Al Jazeera
Photo by Greenpeace Luxembourg / Flickr