Solar power system can be the best option to mitigate the country’s worsening power crisis, said experts.
They think the country’s vast rural areas can easily be brought under solar power system, minimising the mounting pressure on the national power grid.
Managing Director of Grameen Shakti Dipal Chandra Barua said 50 percent people of the country could be brought under power supply network through solar power system within the next seven years if the government wants.
“Solar power system has a bright prospect in Bangladesh, but the country’s potential still remains untapped simply for lack of proper government initiative,” he told UNB.
Dr Md Rashed Chowdhury, a faculty of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii, USA told UNB that solar power system can make a big difference, especially in rural areas of Bangladesh, in resolving its chronic power crisis.
“Another alternative is nuclear power system, which is relatively more expensive but achievable,” said Dr Rashed, also Principal Research Scientist of the Pacific ENSO Applications Centre (PEAC).
“The rural areas of Bangladesh can be brought under this service very quickly and efficiently. There is a perfect environment in Bangladesh for solar water heating. As the sun shines most of the day here, we don’t have to worry about freezing. It’s relatively less expensive and our local utility supports the purchase and installation of solar systems. All we need is to have a bill passed making it mandatory for all new homes to have solar water heaters,” Dr Rashed said.
He suggested that at this initial stage, rebates and solar tax credit system will encourage people to accept this system quickly.
“Given the socioeconomic choices and constraints in Bangladesh, the government should think about it seriously.”
Barua, who has 13 years of experience in the field, said the price of solar panels has come down on the global market recently, which will help people get it at lower prices.
“The government has decided to withdraw tax on equipment of solar panel but it’s yet to be implemented. Once it is implemented, people will get solar panel at the minimum cost,” he said.
He suggested subsidy for it, loan and allowing installment for buying solar panel. “We’ve a plan to introduce the system in the country’s telecom sector, too. We would set up 75 lakh more solar panels in the country by 2015. The government should encourage it, as rural people are getting power because of it,” he added.
Referring to rise in energy prices and rising awareness about global warming, sea-level rise and air pollution, the experts said free source of solar energy have an excellent solution to the environmental effects of fossil fuels with residential solar panels and solar power systems.
Describing how the solar panel works, a Grameen Shakti official said solar panels use the sun’s energy to produce electricity to power-driven lights and appliances or in any use that requires electricity.
“Energy is created when sunlight strikes the solar panel’s crystals and causes some electrons to break loose,” he said.
The amount of power production largely depends on the quality of solar panels and technology. Panels of special semiconductors like silicon convert the sun’s energy directly into electricity.
He said Solar Home Systems (SHSs) are highly decentralised and particularly suitable for remote, inaccessible areas, and their solar programme mainly targets those areas, which have no access to conventional electricity and little chance of getting connected to the grid within 5-10 years.
Source: The Daily Star, 11 April 2009