Bangladesh’s rooftop solar sector gains momentum

The distributed solar power generation sector has started to gain momentum in Bangladesh as industrialists show increased interest in the financial and environmental benefits.

Several megawatt-sized rooftop solar facilities are now online in Bangladesh, while scores more are under construction. Many industrialists are also planning to install solar on their factory rooftops.

Encouraged by the state-run Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), leading businesses, including apparel factory owners, are beginning to show interest in utilizing their building rooftops to generate clean electricity.

“We are receiving increased number of queries from various business groups seeking assistance for setting up of rooftop solar facilities,” said Mohammad Alauddin, chairman, SREDA.

According to government data, a total of 1,601 solar rooftop facilities are currently generating over 75MW of electricity. However, many of the rooftop solar arrays, installed in the private sector, have not been included in the list.

State-run financier the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL) has so far approved 41 rooftop solar projects which will generate a total of 50MW of electricity. Officials said some 15 more projects are now awaiting approval which may have a generation capacity of 52MW collectively.

The IDCOL has set a target to finance rooftop facilities totaling 300MW by 2024, its chief executive officer Abdul Baki said earlier this month.

On the rooftops

One leading example of a company that has already made significant solar rooftop strides is Scube Technologies Ltd, a Dhaka-based EPC contractor, which has signed deals for the installation of 38MW of rooftop solar power facilities in 2021. Its large-sized installations include 11.7MWp for the Meghna Group of Industries, 8.44MWp for BRB Cable Industries Ltd, 4.025MWp for the Al-Mostafa Group, 3.2MWp for the Robintex Group, 2.9MWp for the Osman group, and 2.5MWp for the Urmi Group.

Borhan Uddin Bhuiyan, deputy general manager of Scube Technologies Ltd said the net metering policy has encouraged businesses to opt for rooftop solar facilities to save on electricity costs.

Another Dhaka-based contractor, Solar EPC Development Ltd, is currently working on 15MW of solar rooftop projects. It is building a 3MW rooftop facility for the AKH Group, and a 2MW facility for the Khulna City Corporation, among others.

“Nowadays we are getting good responses from business,” said Ezaz Al Qudrat A Mazid, managing director, Solar EPC Development Ltd. He added that many foreign and local banks are coming forward to fund solar power projects.

Omera Renewable Energy, another big EPC company, has 6MW of rooftop solar facilities online, while installation of 4MW more is ongoing. These are expected to come online next March. Going forward, the company has order confirmations for 25MW more which are also expected to come online in 2022.

The largest rooftop solar plant that Omera Solar is currently working on is 3.67MW in size. It is slated to come online in March, said Masudur Rahim, chief executive officer, Omera Renewable Energy.

Other major business groups whose rooftop solar plants are now online include a 2.66MW facility for Square Textiles, a 2.02MW plant for Fakhruddin Textile Mills, a 1.72MW plant for Aswad Composite, and a 0.99MW plant for AT Snowtex Outerwear.

Work is also underway on a rooftop solar power plant for Bashundhara Packaging Ltd, Pran Group, Paragon Poultry Limited, Debonair Group, and Bengal Group, among others.

This June, Bangladesh’s largest solar rooftop, a 16MW facility, came online in Chittagong. The sponsor, Youngone Corporation of Korea, plans to expand the facility to around 40MW of generation capacity.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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