After the study, a pilot project will be set up on one or two 1km-long stretches of canal.
Helal Uddin, chairman of Bangladesh’s Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA), told pv magazine the thousands of kilometers of irrigation canals owned by the Bangladesh Water Development Board could host almost 1 GW of solar generation capacity. “We are now waiting for permission from the water development board to start the study,” he said.
Uddin said the board has canals across the country including in the districts of Khulna, Rangpur and Rajshahi. The 193km Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Project, which serves the Kushtia, Chuadanga, Magura and Jhenaidah districts, has immense solar potential, he added.
The Teesta barrage and Barind Integrated Area Development Project also have hundreds of kilometers of canals where solar panels could be installed, according to Uddin.
Another senior SREDA official said 16,000km of canals under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Water Resources could host solar panels. “Private sector people will be interested [in] canal-top solar since all these canals are owned by [the] government and they will be provided at low cost to use,” said the official.
The source told pv magazine soft loans would be provided for the development of canal-top solar, as is the case in other renewable energy sectors, and grid connections would be made available.
Former SREDA member Siddique Zobair said the government is considering every option for deploying renewables capacity in a nation where land is scarce.