Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)-The World Bank has lightened up 3.5 million homes and shops in rural areas of Bangladesh providing electricity through renewable energy sources.
Under a project titled “The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development II (RERED II) Project”, the World Bank installed the Solar Home System (SHS) program to light up the rural areas of Bangladesh, said a press statement of the World Bank released on Sunday.
To make the rural areas provide with electricity through renewable energy, the project has so far replaced 140 diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar pumps.
The project has also approved financing for another 300 solar pumps to strengthen its aim, the statement added.
The solar irrigation pumps are reducing farmers’ irrigation costs.
By shifting to solar power, these irrigation pumps are also helping to save foreign exchange for importing diesel and contributing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it added.
The Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF) has provided US$10 million matching grant support for the solar irrigation pumps.
On the other hand, the World Bank board approved US$155 million in 2012 and an additional financing of US$78.4 million in 2014.
The RERED II project is also supporting renewable energy-based mini-grids in remote rural areas for electricity supply.
3 mini-grids for a combined capacity of 382kWp are now operational and 5 more with a combined capacity of 652kWp are under construction.
The mini-grids are expected to increase economic activities in the rural areas.
In addition to the financing from the World Bank, the project has mobilized grant support from the Global Partnership for Output Based Aid (GPOBA) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) for the mini-grid schemes.
More than 28 million households in Bangladesh still rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking.
With support from the RERED II project, IDCOL has embarked upon the improved cook stoves program that will benefit rural women and children, who are exposed to indoor air pollution from the traditional stoves.
41 NGOs have started distributing the improved cook stoves.
The SHS programme is a successful example of public-private partnership in Bangladesh while the project is built upon the success of the earlier RERED project.