Local news agencies in Bangladesh reported in early August that the Executive Committee of the country’s National Economic Council has given the go-ahead for the construction of a 100MW PV power plant in Madarganj Upazila of Jamalpur District. This project is currently the largest to date in the country’s PV project pipeline.
The details about the financing of this power plant have yet to be fully disclosed. The total cost is currently estimated at US$17.82 million, of which US$13.15 million will be lent by Export-Import Bank of India at an interest rate of 1%. The cost figure is regarded as being lowballed. The power plant, which is set to enter operation in 2023, is being developed by a joint venture formed by CREC International Renewable Energy and BPDB-RPCL Powergen.
According to the reporting by energy news websites, the power plant will be built on an island in the middle of Jamuna River. It will have an area size of more than 350 acres. Sources familiar with the project said that the power plant will not take up any agricultural land, and it will be surrounded by an embankment for flood protection. The plant was originally going to be named after the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina. However, the Prime Minister opposes this proposal and has said that the plant should be called the Madarganji or Jamalpur Solar Park instead.
The grid connection of this 100MW PV project will be a significant step forward in reaching the country’s renewable energy target of 10% for 2025. This target was set in the country’s eighth Five-Year Plan
While the project in Jamalpur District is dubbed the largest in the country, local newspaper The Business Standard reported in May that Japanese conglomerate Marubeni has signed a deal with state-owned Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh to invest in another 100MW PV power plant in Feni District. According to World Bank, Bangladesh has the world’s largest off-grid solar power program that provides electricity to 20 million of its citizens. On the other hand, a lack of land and extreme environmental conditions are constraining the development of utility-scale PV projects in the country. Still, numerous PV power plants are now being built across the country.