Firming up the payment system for solar energy exported back into the grid from PV-powered pumps will offer owners a new revenue stream, eat into a $1 billion annual diesel fuel bill and reduce strain on the grid by up to 1.5 GW daily during the agricultural season.
PV manufacturers receive 10% of the value of their exported products as an incentive and the nation’s central bank has extended the program to cover this financial year. Bangladesh’s solar manufacturers have called for more, however, and point to more generous schemes to the west.
In racing to provide access to electricity to all its citizens, the government has commissioned extensive coal, gas and nuclear generation capacity and the solar sector fears an ever-expanding national grid will kill the business case for solar in previously off-grid areas.
The affordable public financing packages on offer for solar rooftops are attracting developers who have clients happy to lease out roofspace without any capital outlay in order to secure cheaper power.
Visitors to this year’s Solar Bangladesh Expo have called for the implementation of quality standards on solar imports – action which the government is currently pursuing – with one industry insider rubbishing Indian-made products.
The German project developer beat rival Scatec Solar to land the contract for a facility which will sell solar electricity to the Bangladeshi government for $0.1094/kWh for 20 years.
The authorities expect to add 300 MW of rooftop solar in the next four years thanks to net metering regulations and hope the nation’s extensive clothing and textile industry will be encouraged to adopt PV.
The new generation facility was financed by the Asian Development Bank and built by Chinese company ZTE Corp. The project will sell power to the grid for $0.065/kWh, a record low for solar in the country.
The two nations are due to sign an MoU today to set up the capacity in the north of Bangladesh along with 50 MW of wind power facilities in the south, near the port of Payra. China will supply an estimated $500m with the host nation freeing up land for the projects.
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