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Bangladesh invests in solar energy experiments

Bangladesh's energy crisis could be met with solar energy systems, but the strategy faces some challenges (as written about here: http://rfsearchlight.clearsignals.org/node/609). Nonetheless, the country has engaged in some experiments with distributed solar energy production.

Intellecap writes,

Despite a slow awakening to solar energy potential, Bangladesh has begun to be more actively engaged in promoting solar energy. In March 2011, the country set a target to install 500 megawatts of electricity via solar home systems to combat greenhouse gas emissions and to ensure sustainable development in energy. The plan is to use Asian Development Bank (ADB) solar power project funds to achieve the electricity generation target. The ADB will support 3,000 megawatts capacity power in the Asia-Pacific region; to benefit from this design, Bangladesh is partnering with NGOs. To prepare its solar program. The country also has plans for a solar irrigation system to cut diesel costs.

From the NGO perspective, the not-for-profit organization Grameen Shakti has been successfully working in Bangladesh, bringing 550,000 home solar systems in 40,000 villages since 1996. Currently, the organization has given 10,000 families solar power, and has the goal of providing 10 million Bangladeshis with electricity by 2012. Each solar unit has been partially subsidized by the government.

Implications

Intellecap writes,

"The controversy around solar technology is that it is expensive. However, that is a short-sighted point of view. The expense may be great, but if one weighs that against the potential for an energy crisis in the country, making provisions to invest in alternative energy sources does seem logical. Because most of the country still cannot access electricity, an energy crisis may have catastrophic effects on livelihoods. Recent studies by the UN and World Bank also suggest the vulnerability of developing countries to climate change--solar energy and other renewable energy sources allow for countries to plan future energy supply, as well as better prepare the country for the future effects of climate change. As Bangladesh continues to shape its future energy agenda, only time will tell to what extent the country sees alternative energy sources as a promising solution to a complex and convoluted problem."

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