The government has finally issued guidelines on how solar-powered irrigation system owners can be paid for exporting power back to the grid. However, for those who expect to have to use grid power to augment solar from time to time, there could be a sting in the tail.
Time is running out for the government to achieve its goal of universal access to electricity by next year but Dhaka has doubled down by allocating $26 million for PV panels in hard-to-reach areas.
The companies driving the solar home system boom in the nation, in part with the help of public money, wants Dhaka to authorize the addition of PV in 18,000 public health facilities.
The two governments will form a JV which will see China invest around $500 million in setting up 450 MW of solar generation capacity and a 50 MW wind farm on land supplied by the host nation’s North-West Power Generation Company.
U.S. thinktank the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says the nation should reorder its power network to harness cheap, modular renewables after existing power station overcapacity was worsened by plunging electricity demand during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Installers which took advantage of cheaply-priced government finance say customers affected by the Covid-19 crisis cannot afford to pay for the solar home systems they have rolled out while expanding renewables programs.
Industry representatives call for a $59 million, five-year package of grants, loans and tax incentives from the government after Dhaka extended a coronavirus-driven industrial shutdown into the middle of the month.
Solar project developers and other component importers are among those eligible to apply for low-interest loans for up to 10 years. The government had already offered a $200 million credit line last year.
Indian company Mahindra Susten will provide engineering, procurement and construction services on a $1.7m, 3.1 MW array for a German-Bangladeshi knitwear company which will buy the power generated for $0.077/kWh.
A scheme to install solar lighting and household power, as well as biogas and solar cookers and larger PV plants, has already driven deployment of more than 1.2 million systems. Now the government wants more partners to join the program.