Bangladesh’s state-owned power utility Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (EGCB) Ltd, a unit of Bangladesh Power Development Board, has issued an expression of interest for the construction of a 100 MW solar park in Sonagazi, in the Feni District near Chittagong, a port city on the southeastern coast of Bangladesh.
Through the tender, EGCB intends to identify and select a partner to build the solar plant under a joint venture. The special purpose vehicle, which will be created for the project will be tasked with, among other things, arranging financing, selecting an EPC contractor, developing land and infrastructure, managing O&M services, and regulating the sale of power from the plant.
The closing date for the request for expressions of interest is December 19, 2018.
The project is part of the utility’s plan to diversify its mix of power generation assets, which currently consist of three thermal power plants totaling 840 MW. The company recently acquired 999.65 acres of land for the tendered solar project.
Although rooftop solar has already seen considerable levels of development in the country, where an estimated 30% of the population has no access to electricity, the potential of large-scale solar and renewables remains so far almost completely untapped.
Chinese manufacturer JA Solar announced a supply agreement in early October to deliver 28 MW of modules for a project located in the southernmost point of the country, between Technaf, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar in the Division of Chittagong, and Bangladesh’s largest river, the Kaladan River. Earlier in February, Norwegian solar company Scatec Solar confirmed it was planning to build an 800 MW solar power plant in Chandpur, also located Bangladesh’s Chittagong Division.
According to a recent paper published by Japan’s Kyushu University at the beginning of this year, Bangladesh had an installed capacity from renewable energies of around 506 MW, of which 272 MW comes from solar energy. This is enough to cover around 3% of total power demand, while the Bangla government is aiming to cover 10% by 2021. Gas and heavy fuel oil still account for more than 70% of demand.
Bangladesh annual existing solar radiation is more than 1900 kWh/m2, whereas average daily solar radiation varies within the range of 4-6.5 kWh/m2, according to the study.