off-grid
Off-grid market in Bangladesh. Image credit: IDCOL

The Bangladeshi government is bidding for more partners to take part in its off-grid “Taka” programme, which aims to bring renewable household electricity, street lighting and cooking stoves to every off-grid community in the country.

The state-run Infrastructure Development Company (IDCOL) has overseen the installation of 1.2 million clean energy systems over the last four years, in partnership with 58 local partner organisations.

The government aims for renewables to power 10% of the country’s energy needs, including community solar projects, biogas, solar street lights and solar-powered cookers under the Taka scheme. IDCOL wants more NGOs, micro-finance companies and private organisations to participate.

Criteria for off-grid developers

Those interested in participating must have a “successful track record and experience in installation of solar energy systems”, according to IDCOL.

Eligible partners should be profitable, have at least 3 years’ experience of deploying solar projects including the deployment of 2,000 solar home systems, 500 solar street lights, 50 net-metered solar rooftop arrays with minimum capacities of 10kW, or any combination of these.

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Organisations must be registered with the relevant authorities, and private entities organised under Bangladeshi law and incorporated with the country’s registrar of Joint Stock Companies are also eligible.

Participating organisations will also be expected to provide a three-year warranty and service the equipment for three years free of charge.

With the government hoping to allocate a Taka partner company to every off-grid community in the country, demand for solar infrastructure from local suppliers is expected, along with an increased demand for engineering, procurement and construction service providers.

Dipal C Barua from Bright Green Energy Foundation is one of the Taka partners noted that solar home systems under the scheme have a typical capacity of 20-30W, which customers pay for as part of a monthly plan, but Barua, who is also president of the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association, confirmed to news site PV International that the Taka scheme involved supplying systems free of charge.

“The benefit of the program is [to] marginal people who do not have capacity to buy solar home. [They] are getting access to the electricity under the initiative,” he said.