Grameen Shakti is a Bangladesh solar power company established in 1996 as a non-profit organization. The main objective of the organization is to supply renewable energy (particularly solar energy) technology to households in Bangladesh at an affordable rate.
An impressive track record
By 2007, the company already installed over 100,000 solar home systems in the rural areas of Bangladesh. The same year, the company had trained 1000 local technicians, 1000 engineers, and more than 1500 field staff in the renewable energy business.
Presently, Grameen Shakti lights up over 25,000 households and serves over a million customers each month.
The organization has proven that solar energy can be spread and scaled up rapidly and provide climate-friendly and affordable energy options for the rural poor.
With the partnership of Grameen Bank, the company is able to supply renewable energy resources at affordable rates through a micro-financing scheme.
Installation of solar technology in rural villages
Gremeen Shakti has more than 1,500 offices located across the 64 districts of Bangladesh, spreading to the rural dwellers where 70 percent of the country’s total population lives.
The main household solar technology used by Grameen Shakti in these areas are 30-100 W solar panels connected to battery storage. The resources and manpower of Grameen Shakti have made it possible to reach the first milestone of 1 million installations in Bangladesh.
Additionally, there are 9 solar powered computer training centers and 3 solar thermal projects installed to facilitate generation and even distribution of the solar technology in rural households.
How is Grameen Shakti involving the community in their solar power projects?
Grameen Shakti has always involved communities in the planning, distribution, and maintenance of the solar technology.
The administrators in the established technology centers are usually female. These administrators equally train women as solar technicians.
Once woman are trained as solar technicians, they are able to design and install basic solar systems and repair and service solar systems in their community.
The current nine technology centers have produced already thousands of technicians and solar engineers over the years.
Grameen Shakti continues to expand and there are plans to increase them to 30 technology centers and to train over 2,000 female solar technicians a year.
How do solar systems help the rural population of Bangladesh?
The economic and environmental benefits of owning a solar system are enormous.
With the solar home systems, there’s no need for kerosene lamps that create lots of fumes that are hazardous to people health.
It is interesting to note that each home system installed in the homes can save about 375 kg CO2 each year.
The cost benefits should not be overlooked as well: with the installation of the Grameen Shakti home solar system, home owners would be able to save about Tk 500 on a monthly basis on kerosene.
With the rising world oil prices, kerosene is bound to increase in price as well. The home solar system (although requires an upfront investment) will definitely be a cost saver in the long run.