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Over 4m remote households get solar system under WB aided project

Over 4m remote households get solar system under WB aided project

DHAKA: Over four million remote households were provided with solar home systems while one million improved cook stoves were installed in rural homes under a World Bank (WB) aided project.

The Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Development (RERED II) Project for Bangladesh, supported by the World Bank, aims to increase access to clean energy in rural areas through renewable energy and more efficient energy consumption.

Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) and Power Cell are the implementing agencies of the project.

According to a latest document of the World Bank and IDCOL on the project, it was found that some 20,000 solar home systems were installed every month under the project while 10 solar mini-grids built in remote areas, including islands and shoals.

Besides, some 320 solar irrigation pumps were installed benefitting 8,000 farmers and reducing carbon emissions, and saving the country’s foreign currency by reducing diesel imports.

The document said the project contributed to the 13.8 percent increase in access to electricity.

Approved in 2012 with a total commitment of $233 million, the project recently received additional financing of $55 million to install solar irrigation pumps, solar mini-grids, as well as improved cook stoves in rural areas.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board also approved an additional $20 million to support the energy efficient cook stoves project, a first for the fund.

This additional financing to the Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED II) Project will install 1,000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids, and about 4 million improved cook stoves in rural areas.

The project will enable about 10 million people living in villages, shoals, and islands to access electricity and use energy efficient cook stoves. These interventions will help the country reduce carbon emissions.

These will provide about 28,000 connections to households and businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises.

According to World Bank, currently Bangladesh has the largest solar home system program and the largest improved cook stove program in the world.

In the last decade, energy demand in Bangladesh increased on an average of 10 percent per annum. Unreliable power supply is estimated to cost the country about 2 percent of GDP.

Talking to BSS, a World Bank official said the lending agency has $1.66 billion of ongoing support in the energy sector to enhance capacity, generate clean energy, improve transmission and system operation, reduce technical losses, as well as increase access to both grid and renewable electricity.

Only two-thirds of rural homes in Bangladesh have access to grid electricity, and even these consumers suffer power cuts due to lack of supply and network congestions.

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