Textile mill owners in the country are getting increasingly interested in the net-metered rooftop solar system as gas-based electricity is getting pricier day by day.
Stakeholders say about 10 factories have already started generating power through the installation of rooftop solar systems, while many others have expressed interest in generating electricity in this manner.
While addressing a workshop at the BTMA office in the capital's Panthapath on Thursday, entrepreneurs in the textile sector highlighted a number of positive aspects of using this method of power generation and termed it "an effective technology".
At the same time, they also talked about some challenges of using this method.
The government is also encouraging the use of electricity in the net metering system.
Mohammad Ali Khokon, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), said the net-metered rooftop solar system could become an effective technology to ensure environment-friendly use of fuel.
At the programme, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, energy adviser to the prime minister, told the entrepreneurs that they would always benefit from generating and using power in this method, even if the government does not have anything to gain or lose from this.
Industries would get discounts if power is generated through the solar system, said the energy adviser, adding that the government will assist them to increase the efficiency of this method.
The government is conducting an audit in this regard, he continued.
Net energy metering refers to a policy mechanism that allows prosumers to connect their renewable energy systems to the distribution grid. The mechanism allows for the export of energy generated from distributed renewable energy sources in exchange for credits in the form of energy or money.
The government formulated the Net Metering Guideline in 2018, which was slightly modified the following year. There are two ways to use electricity produced in this method.
One is Capex or capital expenditure, where a consumer invests for a project and maintains it regularly.
The other is Opex or operational expenditure, which is mostly known as third party investment. In this method the consumer will pay the bill at a fixed rate for each unit used.
In his keynote presentation at the workshop, Md Rashedul Alam, assistant director of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda), highlighted various financial and environmental benefits of a net-metered rooftop solar system.
He said power will be cheaper in the net metering system when compared to that bought from the national grid.
Abdullah Al Mamun, vice-president of the BTMA, however, told TBS that producing electricity in the solar system is still a bit costlier compared to gas-based power generation. "However, given the rate at which gas prices are rising, this method may be more financially viable in the near future," he added.
"As a part of the preparation, I am going to start this activity partially on the roof of my factory building. About 30% of the factory's demand for electricity can be met in this way," he said.
"Currently, many of the textile mills do not have the capacity to carry the weight of rooftop solar systems. Therefore, the capacity of the roofs of such buildings needs to be enhanced."
Fazlul Hoque, vice-president of the BTMA, also expressed a positive attitude towards power generation in the net metering system. In this case, the Opex system might be better than Capex, he observed.
Mohammad Alauddin, chairman of Sreda, and A Matin Chowdhury, former president of the BTMA, among others, spoke at the opening ceremony of the workshop.