Photo: TSEL project in Bangladesh (image) is expected to be commissioned in July 2018

A 28MWp utility-scale solar project in Teknaf, Bangladesh is preparing to reach its commissioning date this month – the first of this scale in the country.

Technaf Solartech Energy Limited (TSEL) is the first utility-scale solar project in Bangladesh delivered within the 1.6GW solar project pipeline announced last year. It forms the southernmost point of mainland Bangladesh, which has a population of over 200,000.

With an installed capacity of 28MWp, the project is expected to produce 43,000MWh annual yield for year one. At peak production the plant supply will cover up to 80% of the present electricity demand of the entire Teknaf region.

Working in partnership with Joules Power Limited (JPL), PROINSO UK explained in a statement that they have been utilising an innovative financing solution from GuarantCo, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and supported by the governments of the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia.

The reduction in CO2 emissions over the next 20 years is estimated to be around 400,000 tonnes, the UK firm said.

Project funding has been secured through debt finance by Standard Chartered Bank (Bangladesh and UK) and One Bank (Bangladesh). PIDG company GuarantCo, is working with the project parties to be able to provide an unconditional credit guarantee for over 50% of the project debt.

On the successful reach of financial close the loan tenor is expected to be extended to 15 years for both local currency and USD debt. With the implementation of this pioneering funding solution, GuarantCo will be providing a risk guarantee for a significant portion of the TSEL project debt.

Rising electricity demand in Bangladesh is projected to reach 34,000MW by 2030 while the installed generation capacity is currently around 16GW. In order to help boost economic growth the Government of Bangladesh is planning to increase power generation beyond expected demand with total investment in the sector estimated at $70.5 billion, the UK company explained.

According to recent media reports Bangladesh is planning to diversify its energy mix, currently heavily based on natural gas, by increasing the share of renewable energy to 10% by 2020.

Rayan Moyeen, operations director at Joules Power Limited said: “TSEL has overcome various challenges and obstacles; advocating for and even affecting policy changes for the renewable energy sector, paving the way for easier implementation of future projects for all.

“It is truly a pleasure to be able to aid our country in contributing to the global clean energy revolution to battle the threats of global warming and climate change.”