The installations will consist of four 250 W modules on each post office, as well as a battery storage device. The Bangladeshi Government will cover the costs, which amount to US$20 million. The project is being run by the Bangladeshi Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, 1500 solar installations have already been completed, and the full 8500 are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
Module durability is a key concern for the project. “Long transport routes and the tropical climate place high demands on the solar modules,” said Syed Bakhtiar, CEO at Omni Power, which is responsible for maintaining the installations. “As post offices are the only point of contact with the outside world for the population in many regions, we wanted top quality modules.”
Electricity consumers in Bangladesh often have to rely on off grid energy sources. Sometimes these are diesel generators, although residential solar systems have played a significant role in the government’s plan to make electricity available to 100% of the population by 2021.
“Supplying clean solar energy is a good alternative to traditional energy sources in Bangladesh, due to the optimal irradiation levels,” says Thomas Volz, Astroenergy Solarmodule GmbH CEO. “In Bangladesh the power grid is underdeveloped and there are sometimes long power cuts affecting the whole country. Today solar energy is more profitable than diesel in many regions. Moreover it does not depend on suppliers and requires little maintenance.”
Astronergy, a subsidiary of the China based Chint group, will produce the modules at its highly automated plant in Frankfurt an der Oder in eastern Germany. The factory produces both mono and polycrystalline solar modules, which have shown strong performance in durability tests.