Local firms that produce solar panels or modules want the government to put aside a 30 percent quota for their products in all government solar projects.
The Solar Module Manufacturers' Association of Bangladesh made the demand at a press conference at the National Press Club on Sunday.
The other demands that the association put forward in its seven-point charter of demand include granting loans for at least 10 to 15 years' tenure to encourage local industries to invest in the sector, fixing the rate of interest at 4 to 5 percent considering it as a green industry.
It also demanded formulation of necessary policy for controlling the import of solar panels to protect the local industries, proper implementation of the policies for ensuring the quality of imported solar equipment and setting up an international standard laboratory for this purpose.
The association leaders have demanded holding quarterly meetings with the stakeholders concerned under the ministry for the development of the sector. They also demanded ensuring participation of a representative of the solar module manufacturers' association in all government committees on solar panels, including the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority.
They also demanded ensuring participation of local manufacturing industries in different priority-based government development projects, including the government's rooftop project, solar irrigation project, net metering project, Test Relief (TR)/Food for Work, Taka for Work, Rural infrastructure preservation project.
The association also demanded the formulation of a proper policy in this regard, providing financial incentives to the users by the government to encourage the use of solar energy.
Munawar Misbah Moin, president of the Solar Module Manufacturers' Association of Bangladesh, informed the press conference that the capacity of local industries in this sector has increased considerably.
He said if the government formulates a policy helpful in the expansion of the market for local products, the entrepreneurs in the sector will feel more encouraged.
Munawar Misbah, however, thanked the government for its recent announcement of a 10 percent subsidy in the export of PV (Photovoltaic/solar) module. He said low-quality solar panels are being imported from China and India which puts the local firms into an unequal competition. He called for strict monitoring to stop this.
Golam Baki Masud, general secretary of the association read out a written statement in the press conference.
The Association's senior vice president Moshiur Rahman, vice president Ansar Uddin, member Tanjil Chowdhury were also present there, among others.
The leaders of the association said as per the government target, 10 percent of the demand for energy - about 2,000 megawatts - will be generated from renewable energy sources by 2020. At present, 605MW renewable energy is produced and a lion's share of this (370MW) comes from about 68 lakh solar panels which is known as the world's biggest project.
The association leaders claimed that the nine member organisations of the association are capable of manufacturing solar panels for generating 100MW electricity which is equal to the country's annual demand.
They said the import of low quality and cheap solar panels from China and India have been discouraging local firms, and that they are tilting towards exporting for this.
They urged the government to quickly take steps for quality control of these imported low-quality solar panels. They commented that the public and private sectors should work together to materialise the government's target in this regard.