Just six months ago, walking was the only option to move from one place to another in Paratoli Island- a nine square kilometer small remote char (River Island) in Raipura upazila of Narshingdi district.
Fast forward six months, Paratoli Island now has two easy bikes and one engine rickshaw. Nazir Hossain, the vehicle’s owner said, “People now can move fast and with comfort from one place to another. Especially, it becomes very convenient for the elderly people and the patients”.
“It only became possible after the introduction of solar grid power system in the area. I now can charge the battery of my vehicles. It costs me around Tk 250 to charge three vehicles and I can make around Tk 500 daily from those”.
Not only Hossain, many other has like him in Paratoli now has the impetus for entrepreneurship. In absence of electricity, life in Paratoli Island had long been stagnant. Siraj Mia had a tea shop for last seven years and he never thought of expanding his business.
In last two months, he expands his shop and bought a refrigerator. “I now have ice creams in my shop and children here can now buy it which was unthinkable just a few months ago”.
Unthinkable things are happening in Paratoli Island with the introduction of the largest solar grid electricity system in the area. The area which was deprived of electricity since time immemorial now has constant supply-something which other upazila or villages with national grid electricity in the near vicinity cannot think of.
Thanks to Shouro Bangla Ltd for taking the initiative of launching the 141kb (Kilobyte) solar grid system in the area. This correspondent from energynewsbd.com recently visited the area and observed the magical transformation in the life of people firsthand.
Sabbir Choudhury, Director of Shouro Bangla Ltd who was present in the mini plant told energynewsbd.com that people in the area have gotten a new life with the introduction of solar grid system.
“Just think, few months ago, the whole area was under darkness except few households which used to install expensive solar panels on their rooftop at a cost of over Tk 40,000. The power from those panels however couldn’t last for more than three hours. Now they have uninterrupted supply”, he said.
He said that a total of nine kilometer long transmission line is being established in the island. The capacity of the plant is 141 KW and it can supply uninterrupted electricity to 724 households and 124 small scale commercial establishments.
The plant has already provided connections to 613 families and lightens up the life of nearly 5,000 people of the island.
Sabbir said, the solar panels are established over a two-bigha land and the whole system here is automated. “There is nothing manual over here as state-of-the art technology has been used here.”
During day time, the electricity produced in the grid is directly used to power appliances in home. Simultaneously, the produced electricity is stored in a series of high capacity battery which is used in night to ensure uninterrupted power supply.
He said that per unit of electricity costs Tk 30. “The price is high but if you consider the usage against per unit, then the cost isn’t that much because the here one unit lasts three times of the time than that in urban area as the load is very low.
In towns, one unit is being consumed in lot of things. Here it is being used for light, fan, mobile charging and sometimes for freeze. So in that sense the price is not that much”, he said adding that the average electricity bill from the households usually stands at around Tk 700-800
The director of Shouro Bangla Ltd told Energynewsbd.com that the total cost of the project is $8,00,000. The World Bank provided with half of the funding and the rest is being arranged by Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL)- a state owned non-bank financial institution under soft loan given for solar powered project.