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Floating solar plants can produce 11GWp power


Dec 31, 2010
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Floating solar plants can produce 11GWp power


TBS Report
31 October, 2023, 12:10 am
Last modified: 31 October, 2023, 12:30 am

Bangladesh’s total renewable energy capacity stands at 1,194MW​


Bangladesh has the potential to generate approximately 11,000 megawatts peak (11GWp) of electricity from floating solar photovoltaics, a recent study has found. Floating solar power plants are mounted on various water bodies and are an option where there is limited land for ground-mounted solar power projects.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) came up with the finding after screening a total of 323 water bodies larger than 25 acres across the country.

IFC shared the findings with the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources; Ministry of Water Resources; and Department of Environment at a workshop on 7 September.

Sharing the findings again at a seminar organised by the Norwegian Embassy on 16 October, Sayef Tanzeem Qayyum, regional lead for 2030 Water Resources Group at the World Bank said, "Floating Solar PV (FSPV) can be a practical and cost-effective way to help achieve solar power generation targets in Bangladesh."

He also said that the IFC is ready to finance utility-level floating solar projects in Bangladesh.

An anatomy of power crisis

Meanwhile, the ministries of water and environment expressed concern about the impact of floating solar power plants on aquatic animals and the ecology.

Md Habibur Rahman, senior secretary of the Power Division, has acknowledged the findings of the IFC to be positive.

He mentioned that the IFC is now considering undertaking one or two pilot projects and the government is ready to support the IFC.

However, he highlighted a challenge regarding the solar power potential. "For us to realise the full potential of solar power, the private sector's involvement is crucial. But their interest in floating solar projects appears to be limited at this moment."

Solar power: Not enough land? Consider the highways

Some local and foreign companies recently invested in solar power generation.

For instance, Beximco Power in August started a 200MW solar power plant at Sundarganj in Gaibandha. Besides, Orion Group has set up a 134MW solar power plant in Khulna.

10 priority project sites

Of the studied 323 water bodies, IFC listed 10 baor, beels and lakes that have a total potential for 10.8GWp electricity generation.

Among these, two man-made water bodies — Barapukuria Coal Mine's lake and Kaptai Hydro Power's lake in Rangamati District — can accommodate 20MWp (Megawatt peak) and 10,372MWp solar photovoltaics.

The remaining eight baors (lakes) and beels (large water bodies) located in eastern Bangladesh — Joydia Baor, Baluhar Baor, Marjat Baor, Katgara Beel, Bergobindopur baor, Bukhbara Baor, Majdia Baor and Jhapa Baor — can be home to 27-83MWp solar electricity generation.

IFC keen to invest in renewables in Bangladesh

The World Bank Group is highly interested in increasing its investment in Bangladesh's renewable energy sector as part of its climate-smart investment opportunity of $172 billion from 2018 to 2030.

Should I switch to solar from grid power for my home?
Should I switch to solar from grid power for my home?
It has already signed an agreement with the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) of Bangladesh to support a solar power plant of 30MW capacity in Kushtia district.

The global financing company also is in active discussion with several sponsors on financing utility-scale solar projects in Bangladesh.

IFC is exploiting the potential for implementing solar photovoltaics on pilot systems in the tea estates.

Floating solar in Bangladesh

Despite Bangladesh's goal of achieving 10% of its power generation from renewables by 2030, the country has only reached 4% of this target.

Currently, the total renewable energy capacity stands at 1,194MW out of the total generation capacity of 28,134MW as of 2023.

The major part of the current renewable energy is dominated by solar energy which includes solar home systems, solar parks, and rooftop solar.

Floating solar had little footprint in the country until May this year when its first project of this kind with 2.30MW at Bulanpur in Chapainawabganj was connected to the national grid.

Now, a consortium of Japanese Sumitomo Corporation and Parker Bangladesh is setting up a 200MW solar power plant — composed of a 50MW floating and a 150MW ground-mounted unit — in the Barapukuria coal mine area in the north-western Dinajpur district.

Solar power has great potential in Bangladesh. BEXIMCO has already built a solar power station in the country.
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