Around 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity can be generated by installing solar panels on the rooftops of ready-made garments (RMG), textiles and other industries in the country.
Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Idcol) – a government-owned non-bank financial institution specialised in financing in renewables – disclosed the prospective data at a webinar held on Saturday.
Presenting the data, Md Enamul Karim Pavel, head of Renewable Energy at Idcol, said the country has more than 7,000 RMG factories with vast rooftops well-suited for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
Meanwhile, textiles factories have around 420 lakh square feet of rooftop space that have the potential to generate 400MW of electricity, he pointed out.
"Besides these, rooftops of other industries – including poultry, pharmaceuticals, paper, packaging, and cold storage facilities – could also be used to generate 5,000MW of electricity," he added.
"The estimation was made based on the space used for the current rooftop solar projects and the available space in different industries," Md Enamul Karim Pavel told The Business Standard over the phone.
By implementing the rooftop projects, three types of benefits could be achieved – a reduction in electricity bills, the enhancement of green credentials and utilisation of unused space as well as reduced use of grid electricity, he added.
Currently, Bangladesh generates only 649.72MW of electricity from renewable resources, which is 2.93% of the country's total capacity. But, a major portion of this renewable energy comes from solar home systems (SHSs).
Dr Tawfiq-E- Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, attended the webinar titled "Rooftop Solar Future in Bangladesh," as the chief guest. Mollah Amzad Hossain, editor of Energy & Power magazine, moderated the event.
Dr Tawfiq-E-Chowdhury urged the agencies concerned to start working on the solar storage facilities.
"Energy that does not work at night is not complete electricity. Due to this limitation, solar is not the main energy anywhere in the world. Therefore, we need to start work on solar storage to use it 24/7," he said.
Talking about electric vehicles, Dr Tawfiq-E-Chowdhury suggested using petrol pump stations' areas to set up solar charging stations for electric vehicles.
Mohammad Alauddin, chairman of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority' (Sreda) – a government wing responsible for promoting renewable energy – said the country should not focus only on solar for achieving the renewable energy generation targets.
"Beside solar energy, we need to explore other sources of renewable energy like wind and hydropower," said the Sreda chairman.
Participating in the panel discussion, Tanjil Chowdhury, managing director of East Coast Group, stressed low-cost green financing for the development of rooftop solar power.
He also recommended that the government ensure a regulatory framework so that low-quality solar panels are not dumped in Bangladesh.
Among others, Munawar Misbah Moin, group director of Rahimafrooz Bangladesh Ltd, and Professor Dr Saiful Huque, director of the Institution of Energy of Dhaka University, spoke at the programme.