Supplement, Oil & Energy

SREDA to protect solar mini grid entrepreneurs

Published : 09 Nov 2019 06:32 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 07:47 PM

In a bid to protect the interests of the entrepreneurs of solar mini grid, the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) has formed a committee for recommendations in this regard.

The committee will make recommendations to help implement the government’s 100 percent electrification programme, an official concerned said. 

The government declared that every house will come under electricity coverage by 2021. Currently 94 percent people are under electricity coverage. Before the scheduled timeframe, the government will ensure electricity for all people by middle of 2020, according to a power division official.

To this end the government is working to provide power to remote shoals and islands. Where the grid power is not reachable, electricity is being provided through the solar mini grid. According to SREDA sources, many investors have stopped construction of solar mini-grid as they do not think safe to invest their money here for various reasons.

Unless investments are assured, none will come in this sector with more funds, which will inevitably disrupt the official drive to achieve one hundred percent electrification.

At the coastal and haor areas, mini-grids are being established, serving an estimated 20 million people.

An official said, `Our national grid is being expanded; there are some areas where mini-grids are needed. But there is a fear that if power comes via submarine cable then the grids will become useless.’

The work of the committee will be to assess the quality of the mini-grids, devise ways to transfer power from mini-grid to the national grid, evaluate the quality of distribution lines of the mini-grid etc.

These entrepreneurs get half of the total investment as a grant, thirty percent of the remaining funds are given as long term loan, with twenty percent coming from investment. But since the power is stored in batteries, the construction cost of mini-grid is higher.

The aim is to set up solar mini-grid with 25-megawatt capacity; initially, 30 areas have been selected and so far, 11 mini-grids have been set up with a total capacity of 2. 19 megawatts. Work is underway for another 15 with a total capacity of 3.17 MW.