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Solar power will fail to have serious impact on development without innovation

Urging the entrepreneurs in the solar energy sector to come up with innovative plans, Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on Tuesday said that without doing so, the solar energy will not be able to put serious impact on the country’s development.

Nasrul said that at the introductory meeting of a new organisation titled ‘Solar Module Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh (SMMAB) at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka.

The State Minister said that in the last two years, he has personally signed a total of 52 solar power projects; none of those have been implemented so far.

“There are still several problems with solar power in Bangladesh. The main problem is that people think it is expensive.”

He said that the price of solar electricity is on the downward trend in many countries across the world. “This is happening because of innovation their creating business model. You should start doing that,” Nasrul told the members of the newly formed organization.

Giving example, he said that the roof tops in Dhaka city could be an excellent place for solar power generation. “Just think that all the roofs of Dhaka have solar panels and they produce electricity. The government will buy electricity from them. As module manufactures you can offer them attractive packages so that they would get motivated in installing solar panel“

He said that recently an Indian company had approached the ministry with a plan to change all the streetlights of Dhaka with solar powered streetlight.

“They gave us the proposal to do so at free of cost. They will charge us money after five years and that money will be given from the savings that the city corporations are going to make by not paying hefty bills for the electricity for the streetlight.” he also said.

Nasrul said that renewable energy is the key to achieving the government`s goal of power sector. United effort is a must for ensuring production and uses of green and clean energy. “Our government will give every possible support to the investors. Facilities are already being provided to develop and expand the solar power sector.”

Speaking on the occasion, Md  Anwarul Islam Sikder, Chairman of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) said, "We want to help renewable energy entrepreneurs with technical knowledge and financial assistance. But investors have to make government realize why tax exemption is necessary for the growth of this industry."

Mizanur Rahman Joddar, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank said, “There is no alternative of renewable energy to ensure clean and sustainable energy. Solar power is the best option to expand electricity services in rural and off grid area,”

“There is immense scope to use of solar energy in agriculture, home and trade. But, we have not been able to capitalize that opportunity till now. On the one hand, we need more technological development to ensure maximum use of solar energy,” he said.

“Besides, there is a need to ensure different kind of financial incentives. Bangladesh Bank has already undertaken various programs to increase the use of environment friendly fuel. We are interested in providing the necessary support for the development of this sector,” he also said.

Munawar Misbah Moin, President of SMMAB said, according to the adopted plan of government some of 30 lakh family will get solar power by the end of 2017. The import of solar panel might be stopped to establish the ongoing plan of the government otherwise Tk 11 billion will be gone outside from the country. 

He said, at present the country’s demand of solar power is 60 MW. In contrast, nine companies of the country have the ability to produce 100 MW solar power that means producer has the ability to meet the demand of the country.

The local company cannot survive with the competition of imported panels for the unbalanced price of product. The imported panel might be ascribed high tariff to keep alive this potential sector. He proposed 30% to 40% tariff for imported panel with 70% to 80% supplementary tariff.

SMMAB General Secretary Golam Baki Masud, Senior vice president Mosiur Rahman, Vice president Engineer Ansar Uddin, Managing Director of Anthony Hamid Mridha and Muzibur Rahman were also present among others.

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