$45.4 mn to spur solar-driven pumping for irrigation in Bangladesh
Desk Report: Bangladesh is set to receive a$20million loan from an Asian Development Bank (ADB) Power System Efficiency Improvement Project together with an additional$25.44million in grant financing to spur off-grid solar photovoltaic (SPV) pumping for agricultural irrigation, reports UNB.
The grant financing comprises$22.44million from the Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program under the Strategic Climate Fund, and$3million is from the Clean Energy Fund for Output-based Aid under the ADB-administered Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.
“High diesel costs for irrigation are not sustainable and affordable for small farmers in rural Bangladesh,” said ADB Senior Energy Specialist Aiming Zhou.
“In an area where grid electricity is not available, using solar energy for irrigation is a promising alternative to diesel-based pumping systems,” said Zhou.
The project will help meet diverse energy demands, improve livelihoods because of less pollution, and result in savings from the reduction in diesel use for irrigation and other agricultural activities, said the official.
Irrigation consumes about 4.58% of the total electricity generation in the country, said the ADB yesterday.
Farmers with electric pumps, however, continuously struggle with persistent power outages.
This forces them to operate their pumps at night when grid electricity demand is lower and power outages are less likely. In off-grid rural areas, reliance on expensive diesel for pumping is the only option.
An estimated 11.06 million farmers are using diesel to operate their pumps for irrigation that consume 1 million tons of diesel per year.
Solar powered irrigation can replace diesel systems to enhance energy security, reduce local pollution, and mitigate climate change.
However, the financing and operating model are still at early stages and not yet financially and operationally viable.