Rooftop Program Is Growing Quickly In Bangladesh And It Has Around 6000Mw Potential. Mr. Dipal C Barua, President, Bangladesh Solar & Renewable Energy Association

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In Conversation With Mr. Dipal C Barua, President, Bangladesh Solar & Renewable Energy Association

Mr. Dipal C Barua talks about BSREA efforts in solarlising Bangladesh, growth potential of solar sector in Bangladesh.

Please enlighten us on the role of Bangladesh Solar & Renewable Energy Association (BSREA) in the Bangladesh solar sector? 

Since 1996, being Involved with the Pioneering of Solar Energy in Bangladesh, I had designed a monthly installment based financial model at the price of kerosene which has made the Solar Home System (SHS) affordable for the rural people of Bangladesh and by following the path Bangladesh has already installed over 5.5 million Solar Home System in the off grid areas of Bangladesh which is the largest solar program in the world. In addition, around 2100 solar irrigation pumps have been also installed and It can potentially replace over 1.3 million shallow (diesel operated) pump. Over 200 thousand Solar Street light has been installed especially in the rural areas of Bangladesh and have Potentials of 1 million street lights in Bangladesh. Rooftop Program is growing quickly in Bangladesh and it has around 6000MW potentials. Around 25 Mini grid has completed and 50 Mini grid under process for Implementation. Recently 2 Utility Scale Solar Projects have been completed and total of 31 MW Solar power electricity has already been connected to the National Grid Line and around 800 MW Solar Power Plants has been approved by The Government to be connected to the National Grid Line.

Bangladesh Solar & Renewable Energy association (BSREA) is the largest and only Association of Business Houses and NGOs working for promoting Clean Energy Industry in Bangladesh. It promotes private sectors in developing and expanding renewable energy in all over Bangladesh. It’s a non-profit organization established in 2011. Currently it has around 50 members and 21 executive members which are actively working with us to expand the solar & renewable energy sector in Bangladesh. BSREA provides a platform for dialogue among policy makers, practitioners and experts for sustainable market growth. BSREA sometimes also negotiates with the Government about the withdrawal of VAT, TAX and providing Incentive over renewable energy equipment so that this sector can be expanded extensively. BSREA also intends to collaborate with renewable energy private sector associations in the region and around the world to establish cooperation and share and exchange knowledge. 

What are the initiatives taken by BSREA for the development of solar sector in Bangladesh?

For last few years BSREA has been facilitating the newly developed renewable energy sector of the country by providing policy making support in national level, negotiating with NBR about the taxation for importing renewable energy products as well as corporate income tax imposed by the government of Bangladesh for solar and renewable energy companies, negotiating with government for including a significant amount in the national budget for RE expansion. BSREA is also providing support to SREDA (Sustainable & Renewable Energy Development Authority) for sustainable policy making and development.

BSREA has done several Campaigns and Workshops for the development of solar sector in Bangladesh. Those are as follows:

  1. Building “My Village : My Town” – The role of Renewable Energy :    With years of experience and expertise, BSREA endeavored to create a unique platform to turn each village into role model for sustainable development in line with Bangladesh Government’s ambitions. The aim is not to turn villages into cities life will be available in villages without harming the nature and the environment. As a smart village, it will have all provisions of renewable energy and energy efficiency to ensure energy security in the most efficient way. Bangladesh is already well acclaimed for its largest off grid solar programme. The proposed initiative will not only reduce internal migration from stakeholder event was organized by BSREA in April 2019 in collaboration with SREDA and development partners, including GIZ and IDCOL. The Honorable Plan Minister of Bangladesh – Mr. M. A. Mannan, MP was the Chief Guest and Private Industry and Investment Advisor to Prime Minister of Bangladesh- Mr. Salman F Rahman was the Special Guest of the Program and other dignitaries were also present in this program. 

  1. Campaign on: Responsible Use of Electricity:

Climate adaptation and protection is a leading global issue that is vital for a climate vulnerable country like Bangladesh.  With Bangladesh’s ambition to become an advanced economy by 2041, BSREA is particularly supporting the Government towards climate change mitigation. In doing so, not only does BSREA promote renewable energy in a business viable way, but also a campaign on responsible use of electricity to develop an energy conscious society launched in February 2018. There are two chief guests in this ceremony and they are: The Energy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh- Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and The State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy & Mineral Resources of Bangladesh- Mr. Nasrul Hamid and other dignitaries were also present in this program. As part of the campaign, BSREA will organize events and panel discussions for sharing experience and success stories, and conduct public awareness programs for quality use of electricity. With collective efforts, BSREA believes Bangladesh will achieve its development target with minimum energy consumption compared to other developed countries in the world. 

  1. Achieving SDGs: Potentials of Renewable Energy in Bangladesh:

Development of renewable energy and optimum implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are closely linked and ought to be propelled forward hand in hand. RE augmentation could be an integral driving force for achieving SDG target. Out of 17 SDGs, Goal 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and Goal 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts) are directly linked with proper promotion of renewable energy sources. Yet achievement of other goals, Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 3 (ensure healthy lives and well being for all), Goal 5 (gender equality), Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 10 (reduce inequalities), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), Goal 15 (life on land) are also inter-related with sustainable energy promotion. BSREA promotes and supports the government and private sector to implement environment friendly energy generation towards achieving SDGs. With this, BSREA had organized a Conference named Achieving “SDGs: Potential of Renewable Energy in Bangladesh” on October, 2017 where the main focus was to find the co-inter relation between SDGs and Renewable Energy. The Chief Coordinator, SDGs, Prime Minister’s Office of Bangladesh- Mr. Abul Kalam Azad was present as the Chief Guest in this Conference and other dignitaries were also present there.

  1. Green Finance for Sustainable Development:

Without access to finance, commercialization of renewable energy will be at stake. BSREA thus advocates for Green Finance for the private sector of Bangladesh in order to encourage investment in renewable energy. In doing so, BSREA not only collaborates with Bangladesh Bank and other commercial banks and financial institutes but also with various development partners. BSREA has arranged a Conference on Green Finance for Sustainable Development on January, 2016 and Former Governor of Bangladesh Bank- Dr. Atiur Rahman was the chief of the conference and members from other Private Banks were also present in the program.

Afterward Activities of BSREA: 

  • Building up capacity among the member organizations for installing Solar Rooftops, Solar Irrigation Pumps, Solar Street Lights and other renewable energy projects. 
  • To establish a strong training capacity for the member organizations to implement different RE projects.
  • Help the member organizations to get financing for their ongoing sustainable and potential projects.
  • Publishing newsletters on a regular basis to let everyone know Renewable Energy Sector updates of Bangladesh. 

What are the factors that impede the growth of Bangladesh solar sector? What are the steps that can be taken to accelerate the growth of the Bangladesh Solar Sector? 

Land Spacing is the main impediment of the growth of Solar Utility Scale Project in Bangladesh. Utility Scale Solar or Large Scale Solar requires a lot of land space which is very costly as Bangladesh is an agriculture based country and the lands are very expensive. Solar Roof top does not need extra land spaces and it can be very crucial to accelerate the growth of Bangladesh Solar Sector. 

How can renewable energy be made more affordable


By demonstrating large scale of solar systems around the country and utilizing all the rooftops covered by solar panels and integrate with National Grid, as there are about 67,000 secondary school buildings and 30,000 college and university buildings, About 53,000 madrasahs, 300,000 mosques, temples and other religious buildings which can be used to generate Massive amounts of electricity, will make renewable energy like solar much more affordable.  

  • With the help of Government supported Policy and without TAX & VAT on Solar Accessories, Solar energy can be more affordable.
  • Establishing a strong Human resources training facilities for Renewable Energy Organizations to implement different RE projects like Solar Rooftops, Solar Irrigation Pumps, Solar Street Lights etc.
  • Building up testing facilities to ensure the better quality of RE Material and Accessories which will also ensure the services. 
  • Promote and protect the trade, commerce, business and industrial relations amongst entrepreneurs of solar and renewable energy in Bangladesh.
  • Promote private sectors in developing and expanding renewable energy in all over Bangladesh. 
  • Working closely with the relevant Government, semi Government authorities and organizations by helping in Policy making and to develop renewable energy.

Solar technology is moving forward all the time, is there anything that you are looking forward to seeing happen in the next few years?

The Community based solar programme (Rooftop and Irrigation) can play a very significant role in the country. There are 124,948 primary schools and using the rooftop can produce over 1250 MW electricity. There are about 67,000 secondary school buildings and 30,000 college and university buildings which can be used to generate over 970 MW electricity. About 53,000 madrasas are there in Bangladesh and by using their rooftops it is possible to produce over 265 MW electricity. Using 300,000 mosques, temples and other religious buildings, it is possible to produce over 750 MW electricity. Both sides of the Bridges and Public road sides can be used for producing electricity from the Solar Energy. 

Moreover, in the next few years, Solar Street Light, Solar Rooftop and Solar Irrigation Pump also has a huge potential to grow in significant numbers which can be very beneficial for this country

How do you envision the future of the solar sector in Bangladesh? 

It is time that we all need to explore new horizon of renewable energy to scale up countries electricity production and to ensure the green environment for our future generation of Bangladesh. We need to promote appropriate, efficient and environment friendly use of renewable energy by providing training and by creating awareness about the environment. By Solarising Secondary Towns and Creating Climate Resilient and Migrant Friendly Towns & Cities, Covering all rooftops by solar panels and integrated with National Grid, Solar Street Lights, Solar Irrigation, Grid Integration with Solar Irrigation System, Solar Pumping, Green Building, 100% RE, Waste to Energy, Human Resource Development and Training Centre, creating Eco-village in the neighbourhood of towns, Modernizing and Diversifying Agriculture, use of Energy Efficient Technology, Developing Energy Efficient Cooling Storage, Electric Vehicle, Development of Public Transport run through electricity and RE, Low Carbon Technology, Green Garments Factory, LED Light Factory, Rain-water Harvesting, Waste to Energy , Biogas and organic fertilizer, Wind energy, Floating Solar in Different water bodies Rivers, Lakes, Haors, Ponds etc. We need to promote appropriate, efficient and environment friendly use of renewable energy by providing training and by creating awareness about the environment. 

I hope that in the coming days, we will be able to accomplish our vision and with combined efforts and by reaching  more than 50% of the people of Bangladesh with Renewable Energy, we will be able to make Bangladesh the ‘First Solar Nation’ by 2050.     

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