Bangladesh mulls solar-energy options

Authorities in Dhaka install solar lighting as part of effort to reduce the South Asian nation's huge power shortfall.

    Bangladesh is struggling to generate the electricity needed to meet the demand of its 150 million people.

    Most Bangladeshis are not even connected to the national grid. Those who are, suffer from long and frequent power outages.

    Recently several suburbs of in the city of Chittagong went without electricity for four consecutive days. Local residents stormed the power supply building in protest.

    According to government calculations, the country needs 6,750 megawatts (MW) of electricity to meet the current energy demand but it can only supply 5,500MW. The shortfall means they are looking for alternative solutions.

    Authorities in Dhaka are now beginning to use solar energy. The panels are set to control traffic lights. Authorities say the system will reduce traffic jams and well-lit streets will protect people from getting mugged.

    But as Al Jazeera's Nicolas Haque reports from the Bangladesh capital, keeping residents safe and happy is expensive: each panel costs $5,000 to install. Plans are underway to expand the project and make 10 per cent of Bangladesh's power supply green and renewable by 2020.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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