A delegation from the Asian Development Bank recently paid a visit to the South Asian country to assess the prospects of floating PV in a nation that suffers from a general lack of land upon which to develop new renewable energy projects.
The government has set a very low bar of achieving just 10% of its electricity supply from renewables as it tenders for consultants to advise it on how to incorporate intermittent generation into the national grid.
Officials in Dhaka frustrated by the lack of progress on several PV projects have decided to punish tardy developers by setting new power prices which reflect the falling costs of solar project development.
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.
Renewables may be making encouraging advances in the south Asian nation but the natural gas infrastructure deal announced today by the Saudi power company at a stroke eclipses the 375 MW of solar capacity in Bangladesh and its 609 MW development pipeline.
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.
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