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$2.76bn outlined for solar projects

  • Published at 05:42 pm September 7th, 2013
$2.76bn outlined for solar projects

The government has outlined a fund requirement of US$2.76bn for implementing 500MW solar power programme by 2017.

The Power Division published a ‘booklet’ last week outlining the fund requirement and sourcing arrangement, reports UNB.

In 2010, the government announced the 500 MW solar power programme in line with the Asian Development Bank’s “Asia Energy Solar Initiative” to develop 3,000MW solar power in Asia and Pacific Region by 2013.

As per the outline, the 500MW solar programme has been divided into two parts – 340 MW commercial solar projects and 160 MW social sector solar projects.

The commercial projects include solar irrigation of 150 MW, solar mini grid of 25 MW, solar park of 135 MW, solar rooftop of 30 MW.

The social projects include 50 MW for solar-powered healthcare centers, 40 MW for remote educational centers, 7 MW for union E-centers, 12 MW for religious establishments, 10 MW for remote railway stations and 41 for government and semi-government offices.

As per the Power Division’s estimate, of the total required $2.76bn fund for this 500 MW, the commercial projects need $1.77bn and the rest is required for the social projects.

Of the total commercial and social projects requirement, $1.38bn is expected as financial support from development partners in the form of grant of and another $850m in low interest credit.  The remaining fund $530m will be arranged from the government and private sector.

Sources said that despite repeated appeals from the stakeholders in the country’s renewable energy sector, until recently there was no specific fund-outline, strategies and guidelines from the government side to implement the gigantic programme.

“Now through publication of this document, the government expresses its seriousness about the solar programme,” said Tapos Kumar Roy, additional secretary of Power Division, who is in-charge of solar-related programmes under the ministry.

He said the publication of the document will help delineate the features of the government strategies and programmes to international donor agencies to seek their supports for the programme.

He also mentioned that another document on the guidelines of the renewable energy programmes is going to be published shortly which will further help prompt implementation of 500 MW solar programme by the government and private agencies.

The government has already passed a law in parliament to form a dedicated organisation “Sustainable and Renewable Energy Authority (Sreda)” to promote development of renewables in the country.

At present, different agencies under different ministries, including PDB, REB, IDCOL and LGED, have been implementing different programmes without any coordination between each other. Private sector organisations and also NGOs are involved in different initiatives in the programme.

So far, the IDCOL has installed about two million solar home systems in rural areas with the involvement of private sectors and NGOs. It has taken up another such programme.

IDCOL’s programme has been recognised as the single largest programme in the world supported by the World Bank.

The government announced a renewable energy policy in 2008 aiming to increase the country’s renewable energy’s share to 5% by 2015 and 10% by 2020 in total power generation which is now less than 1%.

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