Bangladesh’s Largest Solar Plant Of 100 MW Up For Approval

Highlights :

  • For land starved Bangladesh, a utility scale solar plant is a rare success story.
  • The country has counted on support from multilateral institutions and now, India to progress towards its climate goals.
Bangladesh’s Largest Solar Plant Of 100 MW Up For Approval

Bangladesh, known more for its off grid solar programme that has provided electricity access to over 20 million citizens, and spawned some brilliant startups (notably SOLshare) in the process, is finally close to a large, utility scale project. Plans have been finalised to set up the country’s largest single power plant in Jamalpur, for a 100 MW capacity.

The Sheikh Hasina Solar Park is planned to serve local needs and supply surplus power to the national grid.

The project is considered an important step in Bangladesh’s efforts to source 10 percent of its power demand from renewable sources. Despite its success with off grid solar, the country is well behind on renewable energy sourcing, due to a combination of issues across land, capital and access to technology. State policies have also been slow to adapt, mainly due to the rich natural gas reserves in the country, which accounts for over 50 percent of its energy mix currently. The country is a net oil importer however. After failing to achieve the 10 percent renewable target by 2020, the state has fixed 2025 as the new target date for the same.

The Rural Power Company has been picked to execute the project, with the National Economic Council expected to provide final approval soon. Sheikh Hasina is also the present Prime Minister of the country.

Total expenditure, at Rs 1330 crores or Bangladeshi Taka 1,511 crore seems high, but we do not have full project details yet. To get around the shortage of land for such a project, (around 500 acres), the Jamalpur plant will be built on a char of the Jamuna river and the land is non-agricultural. A 6.5-kilometre (km) embankment  will also be built to protect the plant from flooding.

India is providing 1115 crore takas at one per cent interest rate for the project.

Currently, Bangladesh produces 766.51 megawatts from renewable sources, accounting for 3.3 per cent of the total electricity produced. We have reported earlier on another 100 MW plant in the country, that has not been commissioned yet.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International