The World Bank has offered to loan the Bangladeshi government $78.4 million in order to finance 480,000 solar home systems. This huge solar home systems project aims to install about 7,000 photovoltaic systems in Bangladesh every month. If it achieves this rate, it will be the largest of its kind in the world.
There are already 3 million home solar systems in the country, and they were installed because the World Bank provided the support. “Together, the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank is scaling up a program that delivered development results for millions of rural Bangladeshis This is a proven model that works. Investing in electricity in rural areas empowers both men and women, leading to increased income and growth opportunities, and reducing poverty,” said acting head of World Bank Bangladesh, Christine E. Kimes.
Nearly 60% of the Bangladeshi people do not have access to grid-connected electricity. The government has set a goal of 100% citizen access by 2021. Millions of people’s lives have been impacted in Bangladesh because of the addition of more solar PV power.
Benefits of Home Solar Systems
A World Bank paper concluded, “As for the benefits, adoption of a solar home system improves childrens evening study time, lowers kerosene consumption, and provides health benefits for household members, in particular for women. It is also found to increase women’s decision-making ability in certain household affairs.”
The fact that clean energy like solar has benefits in terms of quality of life and improved health sometimes gets lost in the mix. Opponents of clean energy have no alternative solutions to offer in such situations, so it seems that solar PV is a win-win in Bangladesh.
The solar benefits don’t end there though. Solar power is growing in Bangladesh, resulting in more jobs, “In the past 10 years, the number of solar systems in Bangladesh has jumped from 25,000 to 2.8 million,” according to IRENA. That in turn has created some 114,000 jobs, from assembling solar panels to selling, installing and maintaining them. In fact, the number of solar-related jobs nearly doubled between 2011 and 2013. “The numbers are set to increase further,” wrote the report’s authors. (By comparison some 4 million people work in Bangladesh’s garment industry.)