International Development Enterprises (iDE) has over 30 years’ experience in designing and delivering market based anti-poverty programs. The project is implemented in partnership with Renewable World—a UK-based charity tackling poverty using renewable energy. In addition, the following private sector partners will provide technical expertise: United Finance Company—a non-bank financial institution specializing in lease financing; Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd.—a pioneering solar company in Bangladesh; and Electro Solar Power Ltd.—the first solar PV manufacturer in Bangladesh.
Off-grid fish hatcheries in Bangladesh, and their surrounding communities, rely extensively on diesel and kerosene to provide electricity needed to pump water and provide light. Use of kerosene and diesel, in addition to being costly, pollutes the environment and threatens the food chain and human health. The households around hatcheries typically rear fish in small ponds, using fingerlings from the hatchery for part of the year. A cost-effective, clean energy solution is expected to reduce energy costs and increase productivity for hatcheries and household fish-raisers while also providing domestic energy access.
Off-grid fish hatcheries in Bangladesh, and their surrounding communities, rely extensively on diesel and kerosene –both costly and polluting– to provide electricity needed to pump water and provide light. The proposed solution is a micro-grid powered by an economically viable renewable source, solar, that replaces diesel consumption. The solar micro-grid reduces energy costs and increases productivity for hatcheries and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) while also providing domestic energy access. The systems power hatchery water pumping activities while supplying households with renewable power through an innovative metering technology. The mobile metering and billing system allows users to pay for their electricity using mobile money. The innovative Build-Operate-Transfer business model ensures that hatcheries and surrounding households can afford the technical solution by bringing private sector investment that would otherwise not be attracted to renewable grid development. The use of fish hatcheries as a hub for clean power generation provides a guaranteed, niche market with a higher level of sustainable and economic success.
The project will provide economic benefits to the hatcheries using the system, as well as the surrounding communities. These benefits include reduced diesel costs due to the use of clean energy, increased profits and sales for the hatchery, increased employment, and increased sustainability of aquaculture practices. The availability of evening lighting will enable social and educational benefits, such as studying after dark and additional time for operation of homestead-based businesses. The project will also benefit technology value chains by investing in key research and development which can encourage investment from technology investors, making clean energy solutions more affordable and available for poor rural consumers.
The project will facilitate operationalizing solar and diesel hybrid microgrids with a battery backup system with a mobile enabled metering and payment platform utilizing a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) business model between fish hatcheries and private sector company to deliver affordable, clean power for water pumping and lighting for off-grid and semi-gridded fish hatcheries, households and small fish farmers. The mobile metering and billing system will allow users to pay for their electricity using mobile money, either pre- or post-usage.
iDE Bangladesh has facilitated installation of microgrid systems by a private company, Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Limited, at two fish hatcheries and surrounding communities in Bhola and Patuakhali districts of coastal Bangladesh. As of September 2019, the systems are serving a total of 47 households, 8 SMEs, and 1 local community mosque. The electricity being generated is used for water pumping at the hatcheries, and to power household appliances such as lights, fans, televisions, and refrigerators in the communities. One female entrepreneur uses electricity generated by the mini grid to increase the capacity of her chicken farm from 375 to 900 chickens. In May 2018, iDE Bangladesh hired an occupational health and safety consultant, B-Advancy, to review the mini grids’ layout and operational protocols. B-Advancy was able to work with iDE Bangladesh and the mini grid operator, Rahimafrooz Renewableable Energy Ltd. to increase mini grid safety and the need for occupational health and safety practices. iDE Bangladesh’s award was completed in December 2018.