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Solar EPC Development Ltd. (SEPC) is one of the foremost and fastest-growing solar power project developers and consultancy firms in Bangladesh. SEPC is associated with renowned and reputed international Solar Project Developer, EPC Contractors and Investors. The company aims for a better and greener world with eco-friendly energy technologies. SEPC is the pioneer of floating solar in Bangladesh and implemented the first-ever floating solar project in Bangladesh (10 KW).
Under the extraordinary leadership of Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid, Founder & Managing Director, Solar EPC Development Ltd. has been providing excellent preventive and corrective maintenance services for solar power plants with its experienced operations and maintenance division.
Recently, Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid shared his vision and Bangladesh’s prospect of producing sustainable solar energy.
Could you please brief us about your company and the solutions that your company offers?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: We, Solar EPC Development Ltd., are the leading solar IPP project developer, turnkey EPC contractor, EPC management, and solar project consulting Company in the renewable energy sector of Bangladesh. We had started and stepped into the market back in 2018 with a dream to grow with the global. We became the pioneer of floating solar power plants in Bangladesh by successfully commissioning a 10 KW capacity floating solar pilot project in 2019. We have an experienced and dedicated in-house design, engineering, EPC and maintenance team.
We offer cost-effective solutions to fulfill our customers’ energy needs. As an Independent Power Producer, we design, build, own, and operate solar projects. We work on both CAPEX and OPEX business models for commercial and industrial rooftop solar solutions. We also offer our valued client solar project operations and maintenance.
How will you evaluate the present scenario of Bangladesh’s renewable market?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has set up the target of generating 10% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, which is equivalent to 4100 MW. As per the latest data from the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), 786.85 MW of electricity is generated from renewable energy sources. Out of 786.85 MW, 545.8 MW of electricity comes from the solar followed by 2.9 MW from wind, 230 MW from hydro, 0.69 MW from biogas, and 0.4 MW from biomass. In a country of land scarcity, the development of the utility-scale ground-mounted solar project is challenging.
To achieve the target set by the government, rooftop solar could be the ultimate solution. The Power Division is now emphasizing rooftop solar projects to utilize the rooftops of industries to develop solar power plants. SREDA and IDCOL have taken some initiatives to encourage the industry owner to install the rooftop solar power plant. Now, a good number of rooftop solar power plants are implemented and are expected to increase in the coming days.
How is the rooftop solar market outlook? Do you think the textile and RMG sector has more potential to develop rooftop solar?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: As of now, the country has 82.58 MW installed rooftop solar projects. As the industries are coming up with MW scale rooftop solar projects, we see a great prospect of rooftop solar in the coming days. All the industries’ energy source is either from the grid electricity or from the captive power plant. To get the uninterrupted electricity industries needs to have alternative energy sources apart from grid electricity. Here comes the rooftop solar power plant, as it is cost-effective compared to a diesel generator. As all industries don’t have gas connections to have gas-based captive power plants, LNG prices might increase again which will cost more to generate electricity.
So, rooftop solar is the ultimate solution. Solar power is environmentally friendly and green energy which helps the industries to get the green certification and for the textile and RMG sector to get LEED certification.
I believe, the textile and RMG sector has more potential than the other industries for rooftop solar power plants. The country has more than 7,000 RMG factories with vast rooftops well-suited for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Textile factories have around 420 lakh square feet of rooftop space that have the potential to generate at least 350 MW of electricity.
What is the policy support from the GoB for the development of rooftop solar projects?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: In Bangladesh, effective use of renewable energy resources has yet to reach commercial levels, thus reasonable policy dissemination on renewable energy use is critical. Bangladesh’s Renewable Energy Policy was published by the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources in 2008. Bangladesh has set a goal of achieving 10% of its electricity production from renewable sources of energy by 2020, despite the fact that renewable energy now accounts for only 3.1% of total electricity generation. MPM’s Power Division and SREDA, in collaboration with BERC, will develop a regulatory policy to enable the generation of power from renewable sources. The objective of the policy is to use renewable energy resources to their full potential and spread renewable energy technology in rural, peri-urban, and metropolitan areas and develop sustainable energy sources to replace nonrenewable energy sources indigenous to our country.
In 2018, Power Division introduced net metering guidelines for the rooftop solar power plants. Under net metering, a prosumer can export excess electricity (up to 70% of the sanctioned load) to the grid which will be adjusted with the billing.
Does your company offer any customized rooftop solar solutions to the textile sector?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: SEPC delivers solutions to the industries, more specifically the textile industry, for each imaginable power need as an energy firm with industry-leading engineering skills. The textile industry intensively consumes power from the grid and other captive sources.
Solar power is way cheaper than the power purchased from the grid and helps to make production cost-effective. Our company can provide solar solutions for their rooftop. We provide solar solutions under two business models CAPEX & OPEX. In the CAPEX model, the customer buys the solar system outright and pays the entire cost upfront. We deliver end-to-end turnkey project execution at a predetermined price and within a set time frame. The excess power generated from the solar power plant can be sold by the customer to the utility through a net metering system.
On the other hand, OPEX is a zero-investment model where the solar panels are installed on customers’ roofs/premises with their own capital. The customer only pays for the electricity supplied to it under the long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), the price is 20-40% cheaper than the grid tariff. In this model, the customer still gets the net metering benefit. Going solar not only helps make textile industries’ products cost-effective but also helps to save money on power.
Could you please tell us about the recent projects that you have undertaken? What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: We are already working with AKH Knitting and Dying Ltd. on a large-scale 2.8MW rooftop solar plant which is one of the largest rooftop projects in 2022. SEPC has completed the 10 KW Floating Solar System at Mongla which is the first-ever floating solar system in Bangladesh. SEPC-Premier Energies JV’s Mongla 10 MW Floating Solar Project is under approval process by the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. Apart from IPP utility-scale IPP projects, we have more than 10 MW cumulative capacity of OPEX and CAPEX model rooftop solar projects in our pipeline and a 01 MW floating solar project at Khulna City Corporation (KCC).
Compared to other sources of energy, Solar energy is a new technology. So we have to face some challenges to implement such solutions. As the initial investment of a rooftop solar plant is quite high, finance is one of the main challenges though it is financially bible in terms of long-run sustainability. High import duties on PV modules and inverters are equally responsible for this financial complexity.
Today’s solar industry is far advanced compared to our initial-implemented microgrid projects. So our clients have not that much faith in this new advanced technology. Although we never compromise with our quality to ensure Tier-1 PV modules on our projects, others are not that concerned to have that quality measure. Having faced these problems we have to compete with other EPC contractors. It’s another key challenge for us. Lack of proper BNBC accord and PV module testing lab are the other issues that we have to face.
As a project developer and EPC contractor, how are you ensuring your company’s leading market position and the client’s first choice?
Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid: We make our financial offer considering the most viable price for the consumer. We provide EPC service with the best price for the component and balance of system (BOS) for rooftop solar power plants. So that the price of power generated by the system will be lower, benefiting the consumer. We use the Tier-1 PV module and top-ranked solar inverter for your system at the minimum price. We never compromise our quality.
We also provide free O&M for one year after that we provide extendable O&M service if the consumer needs it. We install, commission the solar power plant and train the engineers of the consumer company so that they can run the plant smoothly. We have foreign consultants solving any critical issue concerning the power plant and maintaining European standards. We also have an expert engineering and project management team ensuring the best design and quality of the solar power plant. We also maintain ISO standards.