IDCOL started the SHS program in 2003 to ensure access to clean electricity for the energy starved off-grid rural areas of Bangladesh. The program supplements the Government’s vision of ensuring ‘Access to Electricity for All’ by 2021.
About 3 million SHSs have already been installed under the program in the off-grid rural areas of Bangladesh till April 2014. As a result, 13 million beneficiaries are getting solar electricity which is around 9% of the total population of Bangladesh. IDCOL has a target to finance 6 million SHS by 2017, 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 47 Partner Organizations (PO) are implementing the program. IDCOL provides refinancing and grant support as well as necessary technical assistance to the POs. POs install the SHSs, extend credit to the end users and provide after sale services.
More than 65,000 SHSs are now being installed every month under the program with average year to year installation growth of 58%. The program replaces 180,000 tons of kerosene having an estimated value of USD 225 million per year. Moreover, around 70,000 people are directly or indirectly involved with the program.
The program has been acclaimed as one of the largest and the fastest growing off-grid renewable energy program in the world.