The Bangladeshi government wants every household in the nation to be solar powered by 2021. In the race to become the “first solar nation,” they hope to achieve this goal by focusing on what they call solar home systems (SHS). Solar home systems are provided by the government to homes that do not have access to the main power grid, thus supplying power where there previously was none.
In a colossal project partially funded by the World Bank, the Bangladeshi government is making a major push forward to bring solar power to each and every home in the country. Because so many Bangledeshi residents live without access to the main power grid, this project helps bring light where there was previously darkness. Even those who are connected to the grid do not have consistent access to power, as the power grid is well known for frequently blackouts. The reliability of solar power in a country with such fair weather is a huge step up.
Currently, some 15 million homes are powered completely by solar energy in Bangladesh. This figure is up from around 1 million just four years ago. The rate of growth for this project is simply astounding. Each month, a SHS is installed in 50,000-60,000 new households, bringing power and light where none existed before. Some months, like May 2014, have seen as many as 80,000 homes connected to solar.
The government plans to generate 220 megawatts of electricity for around 6 million households by 2017 through the SHS program. Each system uses a solar panel installed on the roof of an individual home, and a 250-watt panel can produce up to 1 kilowatt of power a day. That may not sound like much, but it’s enough to make a major impact in the lives of Bangladeshi residents, who are using the energy for everything from running lights after sundown to irrigation pumps for crops to powering televisions for entertainment.