GP solar panels can be a boon

December 29, 2009

At least one lakh people across the country can have the opportunity of getting electricity generated by solar panels to be installed by the Grameenphone under its extended networking programme.
An official of the Grameenphone, the largest mobile operator of the country, said this adding that the Grameenphone would install 200 solar panels in remote areas in order to operate its own tower across the country.
The government could take the opportunity and supply electricity to the power-deprived villagers, he said.
“Supply of electricity from the Grameenphone solar panels to villagers depends on the government policy as the company is not involved in generating power rather the solar panels will be utilised for operating its towers,” he said adding: but, the Grameenphone could supply electricity to the villagers under its corporate social responsibility programme, if the government desired.
The Grameenphone has a plan to install 100 solar panels in remote areas of the country to operate its own tower by 2010. The company has already installed 13 solar panels.
“We are using the solar panels only for our mobile phone towers. We have no plan to supply electricity to the villagers. If the government shows its interest then our company may consider the proposal under its corporate social responsibility programme,” the Grameenphone official said. The Grameenphone is operating its Ranigaon mobile phone tower under  Chunarughat upazila in Habiganj district by using solar panels instead of a diesel-driven generator.
According to the Grameenphone officials, “We are generating four kilowatt of power per hour from these three solar panels at Ranigaon. The solar panels there could generate six kilowatt of power per hour depending on the sunshine.”
Replying to a question, he said, the company used diesel-driven generator before installation of the solar panels as one generator needed about 40 litres of diesel per day to operate. Some villagers of Kalenga, Himalia, Barjush, Harinmara and Shahpur of Habiganj district are now using solar energy. Abdus Shaheed and Shawkat Ali Master of village Shahpur under Chunarughat upazila in Habiganj district told this correspondent that they had installed solar panels in 2007.
“We are now enjoying television programmes and can charge our mobile phones from solar panels. We can easily use four to six tube (fluorescent) lights at night by using our solar energy,” they said.
Shaheed said, “I had to pay Tk 400 per month to purchase kerosene before installation of the solar panels. I have purchased the solar panels at a cost of Tk 37,000 with 20 years warranty. The switchover to solar energy resulted in saving nearly 80 per cent of money spent earlier in this regard.”
Another villager Shawkat Ali said he bought the solar panels at a cost of Tk 45,000 from a non-government organisation (NGO) through instalments.  
If the government takes proper initiatives, more villagers will get electricity from the Grameenphone solar panels, they said.
The government has a plan to import electricity from neighbouring countries on short-term basis.
The country’s power demand will shot up to 5,720 megawatts (MW) next year, 9,211 MW in 2015, 14,172 MW in 2020 and 20,823 MW in 2025 per day. Presently, the country can supply up to 4,162 MW of power against it total demand for 5000 MW per day.

Courtesy of The Independent

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