World Bank backs Bangladeshi PV through 310MW renewables push

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The scheme will unlock US$212 million of private money for credits to PV developers (Credit: H. R. Siddique)

Bangladeshi PV developers are poised for a financing boost under a new US$185 million credit package from the World Bank.

The newly-approved Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project will work to build 310MW of capacity in the Asian state, where the grid supply contribution of installed renewables remains at a modest 1.5%.

The US$185 million credit, supplied by the World Bank’s International Development Association, comes with concessional – or easier to repay – terms. It features a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and interest rates of 1.25%.

The package will support the first 50MW of a large-scale PV park, to be built by Bangladesh’s state-owned power company EGCB in the southeastern district of Feni; the plant has been billed as the country’s first ever “large-scale grid-tied” solar PV project.

A separate US$212 million in private money will be pooled into a Renewable Energy Financing Facility to be channelled as credits towards developers of large-scale and rooftop PV. In addition, the scheme will support data-gathering on renewables to inform future policy, including a potential new regulatory framework for rooftop PV.

“A strong collaboration between the public and private sector will help not only lower carbon emissions, but also meet energy demand,” said Jari Väyrynen, who heads up the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project teams at the World Bank.

The World Bank’s renewables push in Bangladesh comes almost one year after it approved US$55 million for the country's PV mini-grids, solar lamps and cookstoves. A few weeks later, the institution pledged a further US$100 million for the development of 400MW of solar in Pakistan’s Sindh Province.

For PV developers, the fresh injection of concessional money follows expert predictions, weeks ago, that this stream of financing could help many countries shorten the renewable transition by years.

See here for more background on the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Project.

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