Overseas developers rallying to invest in Bangladeshi solar

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At least eight companies, including overseas developers, are vying to secure PV generation capacity in a tender for a 45-55 MW solar plant in Rangunia, in the Chittagong district of Bangladesh.

Companies from Canada, Norway, South Africa, China, Hong Kong and India joined Bangladeshi companies competing to secure the project.

And in another sign of overseas investor confidence, a cabinet committee on public procurement yesterday approved the development of a solar plant in Pabna district, to be set up by a joint venture of Bangladeshi company Mostafa Motors Ltd and Chinese entity Solarland (Wuxi) Electric Science and Technology Co Ltd.

The companies in the running for the Rangunia plant are a Phelan Energy GBB consortium; Jinko Solar; Canadian Solar; IBD Solar; a Mango-Chint consortium; Scatec Solar; a Toma Construction-Kisun Energy consortium; and a Joules Power Ltd-WAC and ZTT consortium.

Tax exemption

Bangladesh has become more attractive to foreign investors, according to industry insiders, since the government removed the profits of clean energy investment from its income tax program.

Nuher Latif Khan, managing director of Joules Power Ltd – whose subsidiary Technaf Solartech Energy Limited set up a 28 MW solar plant in the Cox’s Bazar district – told pv magazine the tax waiver will end this year, in line with a recent government order.

“Since the income of new solar power plants will fall under tax coverage [after this year], the sponsors now offering tariffs [are] adding the possible tax burden,” said Khan. “The tariff rate could have been better had the government extended the tax waiver provision.”

A senior power division official told pv magazine Bangladesh is one of the best places in the world for investing in renewables, regardless of whether power tariffs rise or fall

“Investing in solar power plants in Bangladesh is commercially viable [and] the country has no default in international debt servicing, thus [it is] attractive to foreign investors,” said the official.