Trapping the Sun on my Roof

When 50% of Bangladeshis don’t have access to national power grid, it is not surprising that the country has had the fastest growth in solar power usage in the world. Last week my landlord installed a Solar Home System (SHS) as backup power source for my house. Each of our apartments will now have two lights on whenever there is power cut- enough to carry on with basic chores. So I join more than one million Bangladeshis using green energy .

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Solar Panel on My Roof

The price of each solar panel starts from 20,000 Tk ($230, capacity 20W), same as a 500W capacity diesel generator found in the local market. However the latter is dear after factoring in the fuel cost at tk 46/KWH. Therefore more urban houses should start using the SHS instead of diesel generators which make horrible noise and pollutes the environment.

In many rural areas, where kerosene lamp is the only source of light, solar power is not a backup. It plays a significant role in social and economic development and connectivity. Without renewable energy, not only lighting would have been difficult after sunset, but it would be impossible to charge radios and phones.

With the country moving towards industrialisation, the demand for electricity in Bangladesh is growing. It only produces 3500-4200 MW of electricity against a daily demand for 4000-5200 MW. Bangladesh government aims to generate 500 MW of green energy by 2015 (current capacity is 55MW) and is supplying 30,000 SHS to households per month to meet this target.

We can’t change the fact that Bangladesh will be one of the worst victims of climate change, but we are setting an example in keeping the air cleaner and carbon free as we grow.

Some Stats:

Life cycle cost of experimental Photovoltaic (PV) system= Tk. 43.40/kWh per family.
Life cycle cost for Petrol Generator=Tk. 50.00/kWh at fuel price of Tk. 22.00 per litre.
Life cycle cost for Diesel Generator=Tk. 46.10/kWh at fuel cost of Tk. 15.00 per litre.
Life cycle cost for Grid lectricity=Tk. 20.00/kWh & Tk. 7.75/kWh for generation of fuel costs of Tk. 6.80/kWh and Tk. 0.47/kWh respectively.
For a village 1 km away from the distribution line, Grid cost=Tk. 125.00/kWh per family.

Reference: Bhuiyan, M. M. H., M. A. Asgar, et al. (2000). “Economic evaluation of a stand-alone residential photovoltaic power system in Bangladesh.” Renewable Energy 21(3-4): 403-410.

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