NWPGCL to construct solar power plants in chars


State-owned North West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) is going to set up solar power plant in non-arable char lands for the first time in the country. The construction will begin soon, official said. “Some char regions have been selected where the land is completely state-owned,” said Power Division Senior Secretary Ahmed Kaikaus adding that these lands will be used for solar plants.

NWPGCL sources said the 60 megawatt solar power plant will be constructing at Shujanagar upazila of Pabna. It will be the biggest amongst all the solar power plants in the country. The land ministry has already leased a land at Pabna. An official said that since the land is state owned and completely non-arable, no one will incur losses. “We have already started developing the land. The construction will begin soon,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NWPGCL AM Khorshedul Alam said that they expect to start supplying power to the national grid from the new plant by next year. He added that taking into consideration the availability of land, solar radiation, airflow and distance of grids, they have selected Pabna, Sirajganj, Gaibandha and Payra to set up plants for the production of 500 megawatt of electricity.

The government has a plan to generate 10 percent electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and to this end, it has taken various types of initiatives. Earlier, Power Division on July 28 unveiled “Net Metering Guideline 2018” to buy rooftop-generated solar power from the consumers. Besides solar irrigation pump is also implementing in the country and also initiative has taken to supply solar systems for electricity in remote areas of Chattogram Hill Tracts (CHTs), where electricity from the national grid has not reached as yet.

In addition, IDCOL started the SHS program in January 2003 to fulfill basic electricity requirement of the off-grid rural people of Bangladesh as well as supplement the government’s vision of ensuring access to electricity for all citizens by 2021. Around 5.5 million SHSs have been installed under the programme in the remote areas where electrification through grid expansion is challenging and costly.

Thus the program has ensured supply of solar electricity to 18 million people i.e. 12% of the country’s total population that previously used kerosene lamps for lighting purpose. IDCOL has a target to finance 6 million SHS by 2021 with an estimated generation capacity of 220 MW of electricity. The programme has been acclaimed as the largest off-grid renewable energy programme in the world. The country has witnessed an unprecedented development in the power sector in last one decade. It has been possible due to the real-time sustainable planning and initiatives undertaken by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.