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.
The proposed solution will replace diesel generation with a micro-grid powered by economically viable renewable sources. The system will power hatchery water pumping activities and provide household-level renewable power through an innovative metering technology. The mobile metering and billing system will allow users to pay for their electricity using mobile money, either pre- or post-usage. The innovative joint venture business model will ensure that 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 at two fish hatcheries and surrounding communities in Bhola, and Patuakhali districts of coastal Bangladesh. As of September 2017, the systems are serving a total of 35 fish ponds and 16 households. The electricity being generated is used for water pumping at the hatcheries, and to power household appliances such as lights, fans, and refrigerators in the communities. The proposed solution aims to replace 2,800 liters/year of diesel at the hatcheries and 600 liters in both communities, removal of kerosene to electrify 40% of households without Solar Home Systems (SHS), and provide 6 extra hours of lighting and 4 hours of fan for 60% of households with SHS through 2017 and 2018.