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Small-scale solar solutions for energy resilience in Bangladesh

  • Md Rumi Shammin
  • A. K. Enamul Haque
  • Summary

Small-scale solar solutions offer a cost-effective, climate-friendly alternative to delivering electric power to the off-grid rural population of Bangladesh. As of 2019, over 4 million solar home systems (SHSs) have been installed in these communities—creating over 70,000 jobs and providing electricity to more than 18 million people or 11% of the country’s population. These systems are also part of Bangladesh’s clean energy pathways as the nation develops. Small-scale solar solutions also contribute to a community’s resilience to climate change. Using a field survey on 1000 households in five remote rural communities in South-eastern Bangladesh, this study reveals the opportunities and challenges of SHS. Results confirm that SHS displace greenhouse gas emissions. Even though the magnitude of reduction is relatively small, the collective impact can be significant if millions of homes in developing countries are powered by these systems. The study also found that certain demographic groups in target communities have poorer access to SHS systems. Most importantly, it identifies various co-benefits of solar systems such as new livelihood opportunities, women’s empowerment, improved indoor air quality, etc. This chapter argues that small-scale solar solutions can help build more resilient communities and help accomplish several sustainable development goals and offers recommendations for more equitable deployment of these systems.

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