The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh on Thursday signed agreements for $25.44 million in grant to spur off-grid solar photovoltaic (SPV) pumping for agricultural irrigation.
The grant will further support activities for promoting SPV water pumping systems under the ADB-financed Power System Efficiency Improvement Project.
Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD) Kazi Shofiqul Azam and Country Director, ADB, Manmohan Parkash signed the agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively, at a ceremony in the city.
The grant financing comprises $22.44 million from the Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program under the Strategic Climate Fund, and $3 million from the Clean Energy Fund for Output-based Aid under the ADB-administered Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.
“The environment friendly SPV irrigation can replace diesel systems to enhance energy security, reduce environmental pollution, and mitigate climate change,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.
“The SPV pumps will promote irrigation in off-grid areas and reduce small farmers’ dependence on expensive diesel.”
The funding will support installation of at least 2,000 SPV pumping systems in areas without electricity access with an estimated 19.3 megawatts-peak of solar capacity.
The grant will be used to lower the high upfront cost of using SPV pumping systems for agricultural irrigation, making them more affordable to low-income farmers.
By replacing diesel pumping systems with SPV pumps, the project is expected to result in a reduction of 17,261 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, ADB said.
The project will also conduct an awareness campaign including workshops for the potential users on the SPV water pumping system installations and operations.
Technical and skills training will be provided to support job and livelihood opportunities with a focus on women.
Irrigation consumes about 4.58 percent of the total electricity generation in the country.
An estimated 11.06 million farmers are using diesel to operate their pumps for irrigation that consume 1 million tons of diesel per year.