Around the world in just a decade, the average cost of per unit solar power dropped to Tk 5.76 from a hefty Tk 32, thanks to a series of technological breakthroughs.
But for Bangladesh's 27 solar mini-grid owners who can produce almost 5MW power, the tariff is still Tk 32 per unit. They proposed this price when the government took the initiative to connect mini-grids to the national grid as part of a move to promote green energy.
The proposed tariff is five times higher than that of fossil fuel-based power plants and six times higher than the global average. Thus it hardly makes any business sense.
The Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), a wing of the Power Division spearheading the promotion of renewable energy in the country, is now working to put in place a justifiable rate for the mini-grids.
"The mini-grid association and Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) have proposed Tk32 per unit," said Sreda Chairman Mohammad Alauddin. "We are currently negotiating the generation rate with other stakeholders."
Talking about the reasons for including the mini-grids in the national grid, he said, "The projects were implemented with IDCOL finance, which is a government-owned non-banking organization. In addition, if the mini-grids are not included in the national grid, the infrastructure will remain idle."