Monpura island in Bangladesh lights up with solar mini-grids

May 28, 2020

Bangladesh - A joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) at the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resource has been successful in bringing electricity to 1,199 households in Monpura island in Bangladesh through two solar power mini-grids. In addition, the 684 shops and 41 institutions on the island are now able to generate new opportunities for jobs and livelihoods. 

The island’s only source of electricity used to be generators which ran for six hours a day. Expanding the national grid to the remote island located in the estuary of the Meghna river was an exceptionally challenging and expensive option.  

Thanks to the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL)-- a Bangladeshi clean energy company for initiating several solar mini-grid projects like the one in Monpura Island. IDCOL recently won the prestigious Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) Award , managed by a Brussels based non-profit global business association. 

“We are delighted that ARE recognized IDCOL’s mini-grids projects as key to expanding energy access in Bangladesh and elsewhere,” said  Sudipto Mukerjee, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. “As we have seen on the ground, innovative solar mini-grids projects are relatively easy to install, perate and maintain, and bring multiple benefits to local communities. The Monpura Island project is a great showcase for it.”

IDCOL’s solar mini-grids projects have a sustainable business model which ensures productive access to electricity for population living in off-grid areas, while facilitating local industries by creating jobs and supporting local businesses.

“Access to electricity has truly changed our lives,” said Md Faruk, a local resident. "We can now rely on a steady supply of electricity to use modern technology.”

Access to solar energy has helped Tara Akhter, a mother of two to start a small tailoring business.  “It was not possible without power supply,” she says.

UNDP is implementing energy access projects, including mini-grids, in over 30 countries. UNDP’s recently launched GEF-funded Africa Mingrids programme sets to facilitate large scale investments in renewable energy mini-grids in at least 11 African countries.

More info here.  Video here.