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Scaling up access to electricity: the case of Bangladesh

13/06/2014 | The World Bank

Scaling up access to electricity: the case of Bangladesh Since its inception in 2003, Bangladesh’s solar home system (SHS) program has installed household electrification systems in three million rural households, two-thirds of them in the last three years. In the same time period, the country’s rural electricity cooperatives have extended access to the national electrical grid to about 1.3 million households. Currently, the SHS program is providing electricity to about 50,000 new households each month, making it the most dynamic off-grid electrification program in the world. Solar home systems are small, household-level electrical systems powered by solar energy. They consist basically of a solar panel, inverter, and battery. Depending on their size, they can power various domestic appliances, including lights, radios, TVs, fans, and refrigerators. This success evolved from a small pilot introduced in 2002 by the World Bank’s Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED) project. RERED initially relied on subsidies, but these have been phased out over time as system prices declined thanks to economies of scale and technological advances. Today, the solar home systems are provided practically on commercial terms. A modest subsidy is available only for small systems designed for the poorest households.


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