Encouraging use of solar energy
Thursday, 24 July 2008

In a country like Bangladesh where 90 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, it is quite vital for any government to meet the energy needs of the vast region. There is a very little scope to increase net cropped area. Agriculture is the major sector of national economy. It employs 77% of labour force and accounts for about 45% of the GDP. The total tree covered forest of Bangladesh is 18% of total area. Forests are the major source of fuel supply in Bangladesh. Specially, homestead forests supply fuel to individual households in the rural areas. More than 51 per cent of forest area is managed by the government and 11 per cent by individual households. Thanks to the blessings of the sun, the various available options to utilize solar energy today solar cooking, solar water heating, water purification, drying of food and crops, pumps water and mechanical crop processing, refrigeration for storage of food or other perishable, solar electric conversion. Solar drying of crops on paved open yard was found as in improvement on existing use of mud surface. Solar water heating may be incorporated in paddy parboiling. The average daily solar radiation varies from 5.05kWh/sqm in winter to 8.76 kWh/sqm in summer. At present solar energy is mainly used as a convenient and low cost means of drying crops, fish and salt. Some photo voltaic units have been installed in different parts of the country mainly for demonstration. Capital cost for solar photo voltaic technology for the generation of electricity being costly, its prospects are to be ascertained for specific end uses and locations. One immediate positive step to encourage use of solar energy will be allow duty free import of photo voltaic cells. We are sure, 100 million dollar loan of the World Bank for Bangladesh will help increase the solar energy generation

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