BSS-20 ADB to provide US$ 45.4m to promote solar-driven irrigation

ZCZC

BSS-20

ADB-SOLAR-IRRIGATION

ADB to provide US$ 45.4m to promote solar-driven irrigation

DHAKA, July 5, 2018 (BSS) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide
Bangladesh with US$ 20 million as loan from its Power System Efficiency
Improvement Project and with an additional US$ 25.44 million in grant
financing to spur off-grid Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) pumping for irrigation.

The grant financing comprises US$ 22.44 million from the scaling up
Renewable Energy in Low-Income Countries Programme under the Strategic
Climate Fund, and US$ 3 million is from the Clean Energy Fund for Output-
based Aid under the ADB-administered Clean Energy Financing Partnership
Facility, an ADB press release said.

ADB Senior Energy Specialist Aiming Zhou said: “High diesel costs for
irrigation are not sustainable and affordable for small farmers in rural
Bangladesh.

“In an area where grid electricity is not available, using solar energy for
irrigation is a promising alternative to diesel-based pumping systems. The
project will help meet diverse energy demands, improve livelihoods because of
less pollution, and result in savings from the reduction in diesel use for
irrigation and other agricultural activities.”

Irrigation consumes about 4.58 percent of the total electricity generation
in the country. Farmers with electric pumps, however, continuously struggle
with persistent power outages.

This forces them to operate their pumps at night when grid electricity
demand is lower and power outages are less likely. In off-grid rural areas,
reliance on expensive diesel for pumping is the only option.

About 11.06 million farmers are using diesel to operate their pumps for
irrigation that consume one million tonnes of diesel per year.

Solar-powered irrigation can replace diesel systems to enhance energy
security, reduce local pollution, and mitigate climate change. However, the
financing and operating model are still at early stages and not yet
financially and operationally viable.

The grant will be used to lower the high upfront cost of using SPV pumping
systems for agricultural irrigation, making them more affordable to low-
income farmers.

The funding will support installation of at least 2,000 SPV pumping systems
in areas without electricity access with an estimated 19.3 megawatts-peak of
solar capacity.

The project will also conduct an awareness campaign, including workshops
for the potential users on the SPV water pumping system installations and
operations. Technical and skills training will be provided to support job and
livelihood opportunities with a focus on women.

By replacing diesel pumping systems with SPV pumps, the project is expected
to result in a reduction of 17,261 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions
annually.

BSS/PR/KUC/MRI/1645 hrs