Dhaka seeks ADB support for 50MW floating solar power project

Dhaka, Jan 11 – Dhaka awaits financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to a 50MW floating solar project in the Kaptai Lake in the Rangamati Hill District on Southeast Bangladesh, official sources say. The Power Division is now waiting for about its financing “We’ve heard the executive board of the donor agency [ADB] has approved a proposal in this regard. The government will move for the feasibility study of the project once it receives an official letter from the ADB on its financial support,” said Mohammad Alauddin, joint secretary (renewable energy) to the Power Division.
As per the preliminary plan, the sources said, a 50MW floating solar project will be implemented on a pilot basis in the Kaptai Lake in the Chittagong Hill Tracts area spending Tk 4000 million.
They said if the Kaptai Lake solar project proves successful, more similar projects will be implemented under both public and private sectors.
Besides, the government is considering the implementation of another 30MW floating solar project in the canal of the Teesta Barrage area in the Northern part of Bangladesh, they said.
According to the official sources, the recent success of Japan, China, India, Germany, France, China and other countries in floating solar projects prompted the Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) to move for such green projects.
Japan was the first country to install a floating solar power plant in 2006 in Chiba by a French firm. China is now the leader in setting up the largest floating solar power plant of 40MW capacity in Huainan city of its Anhui province.
So far, the officials said, a good number of floating solar power plants have been set up in 12 countries and the idea is gaining popularity because of land scarcity for setting up solar plants.
Solar projects require relatively large land areas to install panels and land scarcity in the world’s most densely populated Bangladesh is a barrier to setting up solar projects.
Among the Asian nations, India and China have taken up aggressive moves to set up floating solar plants.
Mohammad Alauddin informed that installing floating solar projects might be a very suitable concept for Bangladesh as it faces land scarcity problem for implementing the solar scheme.
The Power Division senior official said the state-owned Power Development Board (PDB) will implement the proposed Kaptai Lake floating solar project.
The Kaptai Lake was created through embankment to supply water to the Karnaphuli hydropower project, and the huge water body is now only being used for small scale fisheries.
“The Kaptai Lake was chosen because of its availability of water throughout the year. Electricity evacuation will be easier because of a ready infrastructure in the Karnaphuli Hydropower project”, Alauddin told UNB.
He said the irrigation canal of Teesta Barrage might be another perfect place for floating solar power plant as a 30MW plant could be installed on it.
But all will depend on the opinion of the Water Development Board (WDB), which now owns and operates the project, he said adding that the Power Division will pursue the idea with the organisation through its line ministry.
“If they agree, then the Power Division will move forward with the project for implementation through private sector entrepreneurs who are interested to invest in such projects,” he said.
The Teesta Barrage is located on the Teesta River at Duani in Hatibandha Upazila in Lalmonirhat district of Bangladesh the discharge capacity of which is 12,750 cusec of water.
Power Division officials said the move for allowing IPP solar plants has been part of the government’s plan to generate 24,000MW of electricity by 2021, the sources added.
A special emphasis has been given to power production from non-conventional sources. It aims to increase the total solar power production by 10 percent by 2020 (meaning 2,000MW). The total solar power production in Bangladesh has not crossed 250 MW yet. – GW News Desk with UNB