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Rooftop solar potential high, outreach needed for growth: Experts

Staff Correspondent
10 Jul 2024 21:01:45 | Update: 10 Jul 2024 21:17:49
Rooftop solar potential high, outreach needed for growth: Experts
— Courtesy Photo

Speakers have said that the potential for rooftop solar in Bangladesh is significant, yet the sector's growth is hindered by a lack of awareness.

They shared this view at a virtual seminar titled "Prospects and Challenges of Rooftop Solar in Bangladesh," jointly organised by the Daily Bonik Barta and Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) on Wednesday in the capital.

Alamgir Morshed, executive director and CEO of IDCOL, highlighted the company's role in promoting solar energy, saying, "We provide financing and technical support to expand renewable energy. We have installed 4 million solar home systems, which have significantly contributed to the rural economy."

He noted that as electricity tariffs adjust, the demand for solar power is increasing, particularly in the garments sector, where some buyers are focusing on solar energy. However, many people lack confidence in this technology, and seminars like this are essential to raise awareness.

Dewan Hanif Mahmud, editor and publisher of the Daily Bonik Barta, said in his welcome address, "Our primary energy sources are depleting and currency depreciation has had an impact. Rooftop solar has considerable potential in this challenging time.”

He stressed the necessity of starting a battery recycling industry in the country.

IDCOL's Senior Vice President Md Serajul Hossain delivered the keynote presentation, revealing that IDCOL has financed 80 MW of rooftop solar projects, with another 80 MW in the pipeline, aiming for a target of 300 MW.

He said Bangladesh has the potential for 3,000 to 5,000 MW of rooftop solar.

Serajul Hossain noted that solar power is much cheaper compared to grid electricity. “Net metering can significantly reduce electricity costs, with IDCOL providing loans covering 80 per cent of the project cost,” he said.

Siddique Zobair, a member of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), mentioned that in Gujarat, industrial and residential areas can install more than 100 per cent of their transformer capacity, but not exceeding 70 per cent of the transformer’s capacity.

He suggested lifting the limit for irrigation pumps in Bangladesh, as larger systems can maintain full-scale irrigation during the mornings when there is less light. He also pointed out the need for an insurance policy for rooftop solar.

Md Shahriar Ahmed Chowdhury, assistant professor of the Department of EEE at the United International University (UIU), stated that if the proposed 100 economic zones by the government were brought under solar power, there is an opportunity to generate 10,000 MW from rooftops.