Bangladeshi apparel makers opt for rooftop solar


Garment makers in Bangladesh will install solar panels on factory rooftops as part of an effort to ‘green’ the industry.

With more than 100 garment factories certified green by the U.S. Green Building Council in recent years, more than 500 facilities have registered to make their manufacturing operations more environmentally friendly.

“We have set up green factories and the number of such facilities is increasing,” said Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). “Rooftop solar will ease our endeavor to set up green industry.”

With Bangladesh the second largest apparel exporter in the world, the nation hosts more than 4,000 garment factories, scores of which already feature rooftop solar after the introduction of net metering rules. A 3.1 MW system across multiple rooftops owned by the Robintex Group in Narayanganj district and a 2.46 MW facility at Dhaka's Basundhara Industrial Complex are among the commercial and industrial arrays which have already been installed.

“Yes, we will ask BGMEA members to set up solar system[s on] building rooftop[s] under [the] net metering facility,” Huq told pv magazine. Asked whether government assistance would be necessary, Huq said: “Incentivising green growth is a key to sustainability.” The state-run Infrastructure Development Company Limited provides low cost loans for rooftop solar.

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Businesses able to install their own solar arrays can generate rooftop electricity for as little as $0.037/kWh, according to the nation's Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA). By leasing rooftops under the net metering regime, using the operating expenditure (opex) model, companies can reduce their electricity costs by $0.012/kWh, compared to state utility prices.

“We all need to install rooftop solar to get electricity at low cost and to lower [the] burning [of] fossil fuel,” said Abdus Salam Murshedy, MD of platinum-certified green garment factory owner Envoy Textiles Ltd.

Some 1,167 solar rooftops in Bangladesh generate 17.13 MW of electricity under the net metering regime, according to SREDA.

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