The Royal Government of Bhutan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a $3 million grant from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) to demonstrate the viability and sustainability of solar power as an alternative energy and income source.
“The project aims to provide the marginalized poor rural households in Bhutan with reliable electricity in a sustainable manner and a source of livelihood by utilizing small-scale solar photovoltaic systems,” said Bhutan’s Finance Minister and ADB Governor Namgay Tshering.
“ADB has been a committed partner to the Government of Bhutan in the development of renewable energy. The project will help the government identify the regulatory requirements for alternative renewable energy, develop tariff structure, particularly for residential solar photovoltaic systems, and enable rural households to produce energy for their own consumption and generate income through selling excess power to the grid,” said ADB Country Director for Bhutan Kanokpan Lao-Araya. “The project has strong pro-poor, socially inclusive, and gender-sensitive features that will demonstrate the social and economic benefits of solar power in pilot rural villages.”
Under the project, small-scale solar photovoltaic systems will be provided to poor rural households, which will be integrated to the national grid. The project will also support energy-based livelihood equipment and skills training.
The objectives of the project are aligned with key result areas of Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan, 2018–2023, such as reducing poverty and inequality, promoting gender equality, ensuring renewable energy supply, improving efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery, and strengthening community vitality.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.