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Green power gets momentum

green-power-boostThe government is introducing the first ever feed-in-tariff system, a mechanism designed to accelerate investment in power generation from renewable sources, and it is allowing companies to commercially install solar plants on large government buildings.

Under the initiative, Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd (RREL) has installed a battery-free solar power plant on the roof of Bangladesh Secretariat building-2, on over 7,000 square feet of space.

With a 20-year contract between Rahimafrooz and Dhaka Power Distribution Company, the plant is generating 50 kilowatt electricity and feeding it to the national grid. Fifty kilowatt power is enough to run a hospital or a commercial or an office building like the secretariat.

The feed-in-tariff (FIT) system is a concept popular in the west for promoting expensive green power alongside conventional power generation. The system guarantees the renewable energy producer electricity tariff higher than the existing rates. It also offers cost-based compensation for renewable energy producers,             providing price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance projects.

The tariff for this power is pretty high, Tk 19.95 per kilowatt hour, which is four to five times costlier than that generated by local gas-fired power plants.

But during the day the plant saves all fuel cost that would otherwise have been required and the maintenance cost is minimal.

“This plant would generate 73 megawatt hours electricity a year and cut carbon emission of approximately 1,000 tonnes in the next 20 years,” said Munawar Misbah Moin, managing director of RREL.

“It has been running on trial since November 26 and supplying power to the grid. The generated power is more than 1.3 MWh,” he added.

“It is the first BOO [Build, Own, Operate] solar power plant in the country, which is feeding power to the grid,” he added.

This project is continuously monitored remotely via the internet and mobile phones, including power production and plant performance.

A programmable Class 0.2 Meter ensures the accurate billing, which is usually used in conventional power plants for its accuracy, he said.

Moin said it was possible to generate up to 2,000MW power by installing solar panels on roofs of different establishments in Dhaka and Chittagong.

In February, 2014, DPDC signed the agreement with Rahimafrooz to produce solar power for the national grid. Rahimafrooz signed a land lease agreement with the Public Works Department to install the plant at the Secretariat.

A power ministry official said several such power plants would be installed on other big government offices to increase solar power generation and reduce pressure on fossil fuels.

Report: Suman Saha and Sharier Khan
Source: Daily Star

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