The World Bank Tuesday said that Bangladesh, with over 50,000 new solar home systems put into place each month, could celebrate the installation of 2 million systems this month.
A program that was launched over a decade ago with a target to install 50,000 systems over five years has been so successful that now over 50,000 solar home systems (SMS) are being installed in a month, said the Washington-based lender which has been supporting the initiative since 2002.
It said the renewable energy program of the Bangladeshi government is an excellent example of a successful demand-driven public-private partnership program, thanks to the hard work of the state-owned Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) and the partner organizations.
“This is now the fastest growing solar home systems program in the world,”the bank noted in a statement.
After the completion of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project (RERED) project last year, the World Bank has recently approved a follow-on RERED II project to support another 550,000 systems in remote rural Bangladesh areas.
Solar home systems meet the basic electricity needs of rural people, who would have otherwise been dependent on kerosene lamps for lighting, said the bank.
It said the systems, which consist of a solar panel, a battery and a charge controller, are an economically viable solution to power supply in villages where grid electricity would be too expensive to build. The battery is charged by solar energy, which in turn provides electricity to the households, it added.
A recent impact evaluation study on SHS indicated that the program helped increase study time for children, increase mobility and sense of security for women, and increase the use of contraceptives and led to a fall in recent fertility in SHS households, thanks to growing awareness after watching more TV programs.
Building on the successful implementation of the solar home systems, it said the RERED II project will also support renewable energy-based mini-grids in remote rural areas to provide electricity for productive applications.
The project will support replacing diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar pumps, it said adding the project will also support the second phase deployment of energy-efficient Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs), and technical assistance to the power sector.
The World Bank has contributed nearly 500 million US dollars for the RERED project that ended in December 2012.