500 MW solar energy in Bangladesh

"We’re moving ahead to implement a project to bring the country under an information technology network by using solar energy," he told a seminar urging the country’s private sector investors to come forward to help implement the programme to generate 500MW solar power by 2015.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Power Division jointly organised the daylong seminar at city’s Sonargaon Hotel as its follow-up meeting in Bangkok this year where it assured Bangladesh of extending its technical and financial supports to generate 500MW solar power in the next four years.

The private sector investors, who took part in the seminar, expressed their keen interest to join the government programme to achieve the target of generating 500MW power under a policy support.

State Minister for Power Mohammad Enamul Haque, Power Secretary Abul Kalam Azad and Additional Secretary Tapos Kumar Roy also addressed the programme.

The PM’s Advisor said the renewable energy is environment-friendly, but it is still an ‘expensive energy’. "It needs more research to reduce its cost and make it available at the doorsteps of the poor. The development and modernisation process in rural areas is slow because electricity doesn’t reach everywhere."

Managing Director of Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Munawar Moin told the seminar that his company has been working to offer the farmers a static-cost solar-based irrigation pump. "If the government support is provided under a policy framework, the cost of solar pump will come down drastically to be competitive with the conventional electric or diesel pump," he said.

While taking to journalists on the sidelines of the workshop, Enamul Huq criticised the opposition for calling hartal in protest against fuel price hike and termed it "totally illogical".

The government has raised the prices of diesel, kerosene, petrol and octane by Tk 5 a litre and furnace oil by Tk 8 and CNG price per unit by Tk 5 on the plea to cover its financial losses in petroleum business.

In the seminar, the junior minister said the government has taken a massive programme to increase the use of renewable energy, particularly in rural areas where people are off-grid. The government has already introduced 55MW solar power system in the last two years.