200MW solar power plant to be built for $300m in Bangladesh

Southern Solar Power Ltd, a subsidiary of US-based SunEdison in Bangladesh, will set up a 200MW solar power plant at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar with an estimated investment of $300 million.

Once built, it would be the biggest ever solar-based electricity generation plant in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Power Development Board or BPDB will buy electricity from the plant for the national grid at $0.17 per kilowatt-hour.

However, the tariff will be on a “no electricity no payment” basis under a contract for 20 years.

The BPDB and Southern Solar Power signed an agreement yesterday in presence of State Minister for Power Nasrul Hamid at Bidyut Bhaban in the capital.

Mina Masud Uzzaman, BPDB secretary, and Ismael Guerrero Arias, chief executive officer of SunEdison for Southeast Asia, signed the deal.

As per the agreement, Southern Solar Power, completely owned by SunEdison Energy Holding (Singapore) Pte Ltd, will complete the project in 18 months.

JINKO Solar, a Chinese firm, will implement the project under an engineering procurement contract.

Officials said the power plant, which has already received the approval of the government’s purchase committee, will be set up on around 1,000 acres of land.

The project in Teknaf is one of several large schemes in the pipeline as the government aims to reach a target of 2,000MW, or 10 percent of overall capacity, generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Hamid, the state minister, said the plant will help the government achieve the target.

“We also have a plan to set up a solar park with a 1,000MW capacity,” he said, adding that the government is looking for suitable lands in Gaibandha and Chittagong for the project.

Hamid requested SunEdison to complete the project in time.

Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) has identified a shortage of uncultivated land in this densely populated country as a significant constraint to planning large-scale solar plants.

Large-sized solar power plants need a huge area of land to install solar panels. In Bangladesh such barren field is hardly available. The government’s policy is to set up such plants only in non-agriculture lands to keep food production unhampered, SREDA said.

Solar panels are now being installed on rooftops of residential, commercial and industrial buildings.