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Equal tariff structure for solar power investment needed
Private investors in the renewable energy sector, particularly those who want to invest in megawatt-size solar energy project, want an equal tariff structure for solar power projects based on clear and concrete policy applicable for all eligible investors instead of individual negotiations.
"We want a declared fixed tariff, particularly for a solar PV projects having the size over 1 megawatt," said Munawar Misbah Moin, senior vice president of Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA).
He said the tariff should be between 18 and 19 US cents as solar irradiation in Bangladesh is relatively lower compared to the one in India and the Middle East.
Suggesting that the electricity tariff of a large solar project be fixed based on the size and duration of project implementation period, he said the same tariff should equally be applicable for all the parties for the sake of transparency and fairness.
The BSREA members, involved in solar business, said most countries, including neighbouring India and Thailand, and also other nations that have made progress in renewable energy, have already declared fixed tariff and concrete policies.
BSREA has been pursuing the government for facilitating private investors in solar and renewable energy sector with declaring incentives and policy to encourage investment.
The government has recently declared a plan to generate 3168 MW renewable energy by 2021 where solar power will be 1700 MW. Now less than 200 MW of solar-based electricity is produced in the country.
Recently, a 200-MW project was awarded to a private investor fixing tariff through negotiations. Some other large projects are under the negotiation process, a differed by BSREA leaders.
About its demand for fixed tariff declaration, BSREA president Dipal Barua said if there is a declared policy and fixed tariff, then world's good and reputed investors will be here to invest.
He insisted that a declared policy and a fixed tariff is essential as it will help investors make a perfect calculation about a project.
If there is any scope for personal negotiation, it just creates a scope for manipulation leading to corruption, said Dipal Barua, chairman of Bright Green Energy Foundation (BGEF).
The BSREA has recently placed a 15-point recommendation to the government to make the project implementation process fairer and more transparent to expedite the move for solar power generation.
The recommendations include setting IPP project tenure at 25 years instead of 20 years, revoking any license that has not achieved mechanical completion within 18 months without exceptions, having an assessment and mapping of zonal planning by the government to accept maximum capacity of PV projects across the country.
About the government's recent thrust on solar power, Abul Kalam Azad, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, said the government is serious about implementation of the plan as its priority on coal-based power generation has been facing difficulties.
State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said the government is giving extra focus on solar energy and other renewable options as those are environment-friendly ones for power generation.
"The developed world has already started shifting their focus from coal to renewable. So, we shouldn't be in the backseat," he said.