Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations in the world, yet in a matter of months it will reach the substantial milestone of having 1 million solar systems installed, the Sierra Club has reported. The country is currently installing about a thousand new home solar systems per day, and 80 percent of these are in rural areas.
A company called Grameen Shakti (translated as “rural energy”) is doing the work, and is aiming to have as many as 5 million systems installed by 2015. The company has made it possible for people to afford solar by tailoring solar system solution to what people require and can afford in their particular situation. Often the minimum requirement for electricity is low, and the company provides loans the people can afford to repay. Also, the addition of electricity can help to increase the ability of people to repay, because increases productivity dramatically.
The after sales service has also been part of the reason for the program’s success. Engineers and technicians for the solar equipment are trained and work in or near the communities where the solar systems are installed, so any problems are able to be resolved easily – even in difficult to access rural areas. So far, there are 1,500 branch offices in every district of Bangladesh.
It’s a great success story both for solar power and for Bangladesh, and it goes to show that solar power can be and will be for everyone, not just the well off in developed countries.