Bangladeshi solar installers have $1.5bn plan to light up health centers

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The head of an organization representing the solar installers responsible for supplying more than a million off-grid households in Bangladesh with solar home systems has called for a $1.5 billion program to use PV to make 18,000 community clinics and hospitals more resilient to natural disasters.

Munawar Misbah Moin, president of the association of partner companies which roll out free solar home systems under government programs funded by the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Idcol), has proposed the idea to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.

The ministry, which has overseen the free installation of 1.15 million solar systems under its Test Relief and Taka for Works programs, has acknowledged receipt of the letter written by the Idcol Partner Organisation Forum Trust and a senior official has told pv magazine the proposal would be given the “utmost preference.”

The plan

“If we can install big-sized solar systems in hospitals and clinics, the medical services in the rural areas won’t face interruption in [the] absence of electricity,” Moin told pv magazine.

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The partner organization president suggested a three to five-year program which could also include 100,000, 6 kW solar-powered irrigation pumps and a million 20 Wp street lights would, together with the 18,000 10 kW solar systems, add 800 MW of new PV capacity in the nation.

With the Bangladeshi government having announced its intent to install solar on all public buildings and generate 10% of the national electricity mix from renewables by next year, Moin pointed out the solar home systems installed under disaster relief ministry initiatives had already added 250 MW of generation capacity.

The partner organization spokesman added, a 5.3 million-strong solar home system market in Bangladesh has supported the establishment of 22 solar battery makers, nine panel manufacturers, 74 solar charge controller companies, 83 solar LED light manufacturers, 22 solar street light makers, 11 solar inverter producers and nine solar pipe manufacturing industrial units to date.

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