IDCOL started the SHS program in January 2003 to fulfill basic electricity requirement of the off-grid rural people of Bangladesh as well as supplement the Government’s vision of ensuring access to electricity for all citizens of Bangladesh by 2021.
Up to October 2016, about 4.1 million SHSs have been installed under the program in the remote areas where electrification through gird expansion is challenging and costly. Thus the program has ensured supply of solar electricity to 18 million people i.e. 12% of the country’s total population who previously used kerosene lamps for lighting purpose. IDCOL has a target to finance 6 million SHS by 2021 with an estimated generation capacity of 220 MW of electricity.
IDCOL initially received credit and grant support from the World Bank and GEF to start the program. Later, GIZ, KfW, ADB, IDB, GPOBA, JICA, USAID and DFID came forward with additional financial support for expansion of the SHS Program.
At present, 56 Partner Organizations (PO) are implementing the program. IDCOL provides grant and soft loans as well as necessary technical assistance to the POs. POs select customers, extend loan, install the systems, and provide after sale service. IDCOL’s total investment under the program is BDT 52,240 million (USD 696 million) out of which loan USD 600 million and grant USD 96 million.
The program has so far saved consumption of 1.14 million tons of kerosene worth USD 411 million approx. In addition, in the next 15 years already installed 4.1 million SHS will save consumption of another 3.6 million tons of kerosene worth USD 1,300 million. Moreover, around 75,000 people are directly or indirectly involved with the program.
The program has been acclaimed as the largest off-grid renewable energy program in the world.