Technical appraisal of solar home systems in Bangladesh: a field investigation
journal contributionposted on 05.10.2010, 11:41 authored by Shahriar A. Chowdhury, Monjur Mourshed, S.M.R. Kabir, Moududul Islam, Tanvir Morshed, Mohammad Rezwan Khan, Mohammad N. Patwary
Solar Home System (SHS) based rural electrification has experienced a considerable growth in Bangladesh since the start of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project (REREDP) in 2003. The initial target of 50,000 SHS installations in off-grid areas was achieved within 2.5 years, 3 years ahead of schedule. After achieving a revised target of 200,000 SHSs, ahead of schedule in early 2009, a new target of 1 million SHS installations by 2012 was set. The installation of about 0.5 million systems by March 2010 indicates that the current target may well be achieved before the deadline. The size of the SHS market and its impact on the regeneration of the rural economy make it necessary to investigate the quality and reliability of the installed SHSs, if the continued success of the initiative is to be maintained. This paper reports on the findings from a field-based technical appraisal of SHS installations in Bangladesh. Sixty geographically dispersed installation sites were visited. Physical characteristics of the SHSs and their system components were tested to ascertain compliance with and deviations from the approved specifications. Despite the overwhelming success of the REREDP project, the study revealed various shortcomings. Notable among these are: incompatible and sub-optimal component configurations, faulty installations and a lack of effective quality assurance mechanism. The findings are contextualized and the ways to address the identified shortcomings are discussed.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering