|Type of paper:||Essay|
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Solar radiation which is also referred to as the solar resource refers to the electromagnetic radiation which is emitted by the sun. It can be captured and changed into use through useful forms of energy such as electricity and heat. Solar energy is one of the environmentally friendly forms of energy. This is achieved through the use of a variety of technologies (Samad et al., 2019). However, the economical operation and the technical feasibility of the technologies involved at particular locations depend on the availability of the solar resource. The amount of solar radiation varies depending on the season of the year, time of the day, geographical location, local weather, and landscape. More than 80% of the population in Bangladesh lives in rural areas which do not have access to electricity. The situation has impacted the living conditions of the people of these regions negatively. Before the launch of the project, the country had some experience with the solar household system (Huq,et al.,2019). Therefore when the project began it was not a completely new concept in the country.
The data on the average sunshine in Bangladesh indicates that the coastal regions receive bright sunshine for 3 to 11 hours daily. The average insolation is 5 kWh/m2/day. This is an indication that the prospects for photovoltaic and solar applications are good. An average of 40% of the population in Bangladesh does not have access to electricity. When the government realized the problem, it introduced a scheme commonly known as the Home Systems (HS). The project has become one of the success stories when there is a partnership between the government and the private sector (Huq,et al.,2019). The scheme aimed to provide electricity to households that do not have access to the grid. As of 2014, the program had reached three million households, and more than 50,000 were added every month. When the World Bank assessed the project, it concluded that it is the fastest-growing home solar system in the world. The government of Bangladesh is working towards making the country have universal electricity access by the year 2021. With the scheme in place; the government believes that every home can have access to electricity by 2021(Wang, 2012). The international and local partners cooperated with the International Development Company to install solar home systems in remote areas of the country. These were areas that would not access the national electricity grid (Khandker & World Bank, 2014). The project aimed to provide basic coverage of electricity to improve the lives of the people who live in regions that have low-income households.
The government opted for the solar home systems and not national grid electricity because in Bangladesh there is limited access to the infrastructure and the dispersed nature of the rural settlements. The Solar Home System has been one of the most successful green energy programs in Bangladesh (Kumar & Sadeque, 2013). It has provided more than 20 million people with access to solar electricity. The program is a public non-bank financial institution which has installed more than 4.13 million SHS. There were a few selected local partners who helped in promoting the project. It was the duty of the local partners to select private customers to whom they extend loans, install the solar systems and provide the after/sales services. The international partners provide the technical assistance and grants as well as loans to facilitate the success of the project. The local partners were microfinance organizations which were already active in rural areas (Kumar & Sadeque, 2013). They involved the local private vendors in the importation and installation of the household solar systems after they have been granted a loan.
The system allowed the private firms in Bangladesh to offer poor families down payments with a repayment period of up to three years. The solar household system has had a significant positive impact on an average of 12% of the population in Bangladesh. When the project was started in 2003, an estimated 12,000 Solar for household systems (SHS ( had already been installed in the country more especially on the rural poor regions. The target was 150, 0000 households by 2008.By May 2017 more than 4million SHS had been installed. There are several challenges that the government has faced in its quest to ensure that there is universal electricity in Bangladesh. Most of the challenges revolve around the lack of finances (Momotaj et al., 2020). These challenges have made the equitable distribution of the solar resource difficult.
The loans that are extended to families have a short payback period. Bearing in mind that these are poor families the short period of the repaying the loan has been one of the hindrances of the success of the project. Payback time refers to the period it takes to recover the money that is lent to an individual. Though the project has been a success it is on the blink of being abandoned hence leaving other people in the country unable to enjoy the fruits of the solar radiation. The problems the scheme has faced include the huge default amounts that the customers re owed. This has been attributed to some problems such as poor coordination amongst the various government agencies involved in the project. There are also other problems such as the weak financial systems of governance (Rashid, & Zhang, 2019). Additionally, there have been challenges in trying to commercialize the program so that some good income can be gained by the local partners who are involved.
The emergency of a private market which is not regulated has also affected the scheme. As it is the case in other developing countries, the program in Bangladesh involves several support measures which include the loans, grants and other financial facilities. The economy of Bangladesh cannot manage to conduct this project alone without the assistance of external and internal institutions. The issue of the efficiency of the market raises several questions on whether the POs are putting obstacles to the program by making supra normal profits through this structure hence depriving the poor by not installing the SHS at the right price(Rashid, & Zhang,2019). This is one of the reasons as to why the project is plummeting at an alarming rate. The commercialization of the project has made it difficult for the poor to get the SHS. When the subsidies were withdrawn the prices of the SHS went higher making them not affordable (Rashid, & Zhang,2019). The prices of the SHS have remained slightly higher and this has made the people unable to afford because of their financial constraints.
Equally, there are cheaper SHS in the private market and this has contributed to the low demand for the SHS from the program. The government has not put in place a national oversight body to ensure that all the activities and programs are running as stipulated (Whyte,et al.,2019) .This has left the program conducting its activities in an uncoordinated way which has made the program not to achieve its objectives and goals. The higher interest rates charged on the money lent to customers have made the people shy away from taking the loans (Rashid, & Zhang,2019). Most of the people in these regions are very poor therefore they have meagre resources thus when the loan interest rates are hiked they are left with no option but to opt-out of the scheme.
How the Solar Radiation Benefits can be Equitably Shared
Most of the efforts in the electrification of Bangladesh has been focusing on the expansion of the grid not paying much attention to the solar resources that are cheaper and easier to install. They are also viable because of the dispersed settlements in the rural areas which make it difficult to implement the national grid projects in the areas. The main challenges that the government has been facing in ensuring that every household is benefiting from the solar resources can be primarily be described as a performance gap. This ranging from lack of proper policies on financial management and project implementation (Swarnakar, 2017).Therefore, the government needs to come up with well-formulated policies on how the poor households can access the solar resources either through the SHS project or any other project that the government will implement(Whyte,et al.,2019).Since the government alone cannot finance the solar household systems it should partner with the private sector and other international organizations to come up with a viable program on how to utilize and share the solar resources in Bangladesh. They should formulate policies that make the program affordable and attractive so that the people can be willing to be partakers (Sheik& Yash, 2020).They should also come up with a good installment scheme that the poor rural people can afford.
The government should learn from the mistakes made previously when implementing the Solar Home Systems and come up with a strategy that will ensure that the project does not stall. Enough funds should be secured and there should be citizen participation so that when the policies are formulated they will feel part and parcel of it and therefore they will embrace it. When disbursing the loans for the installation of the solar system they should come up with friendly policies on the payment of installments so that they are not burdened to a level where they will not be able to pay and therefore default (Swarnakar, 2017). There should be proper capacity building so that there is enough technical knowledge in the installation and operation of the solar systems.
The government should do away with the fee-for-service model which was used during the implementation of the SHS. In this model, an energy service company (ESCO) was selling the SHS at a fee to the consumer and the ESCO maintains the ownership of the gadget. It did the installation, maintenance and replacement of the components at a fee. The government should look for ways of doing away with the fee which is paid monthly because most of the rural populations cannot afford this. They should also be allowed to own the solar panels and their components. There also be thorough consultative meetings with the stakeholders so that the program can move on smoothly when the citizens feel that they are part of the project(Sheik& Yash, 2020). The government should also be fully committed to the program.
The Coronavirus disease are having an enormous impact on economic activities and social life in almost all the countries in the world. Apart from the epidemiological and biological factors several economic and social criteria determine the extent to which coronavirus spreads amongst the population. There is an active debate regarding the economic and social determinants that have a major contribution to the pandemic (Momotaj et al., 2020). Before the emergency of coronavirus, the people in Bangladesh had a very peaceful life. They were traveling freely and going about their daily activities without any hindrance or restrictions. The projections on the economic growth were impressive and the financial market was good. However, the novel coronavirus has slowed down everything in the country. The alarming spread of the virus and its fatal effects has made it clear that it is going to ruin the Bangladesh economy and the social life of its citizens (Sheik& Yash, 2020). The economy of Bangladesh has survived and flourished against a myriad of challenges since the end of the liberation war.
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