Bangladesh installs 3 million residential solar systems

Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Idcol) last week marked the installation of 3 million residential solar systems in the country.

According to Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star, the 3 million systems installed under the Idcol program in off-grid areas have a combined capacity of 135 MW.

The newspaper reports that more than 15 million people are benefitting from the home PV systems.

The country has installed more than 3.1 million systems since May with support from the World Bank and other development agencies, according to the state-owned Idcol, which has set a target to finance six million residential solar systems by 2017 – a goal underscored by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina: "We’ve set a target to provide solar energy facility to three million more families over the next three years through Idcol," she said, quoted by Bangladeshi news agency UNB. Hasina described Idcol’s residential solar program as one of the largest and fastest growing off-grid renewable energy programs in the world.

The Bangladeshi government is seeking to provide access to electricity to all of the country’s population by 2021. To do that, the government is looking to more than double electricity generation to 24 GW, 10% of which from renewables, according to UNB. As of August 2014, Bangladesh had an installed generation capacity of 10,618 MW, as per data from the Bangladesh Power Development Board.

Idcol has been financing residential solar systems since 2003 with the support of the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Other international agencies that have extended their support to the program include the Asian Development Bank, Germany’s KfW and GIZ, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA), U.S. organization USAID, the U.K.’s he Department for International Development (DFID) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA).

Idcol is currently installing more than 60,000 residential solar systems a month, The Daily Star reported, citing Idcol.