Problems with Solar Home System in Dhaka City

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Problems with Solar Home System

Tabita Zahur

This paper has identified the problems with solar home system in Dhaka city. In spite of significant success of solar home system in the rural sector, this new industry is not without its problems which include high cost, sub standard solar panels and battery, low generation capacity and lack of knowledge about the technology. Our research is limited to the problems faced in acquiring, installing and using Solar Home System (SHS) in the residential apartments of urban Dhaka city. This proposed exploratory research is based on both primary and secondary data. Primary research includes lead-user survey of housing developers and suppliers of the technology to identify the problems in acquiring and installing Solar Home System, a pilot survey on the end-users of solar-power, namely, the households residing in those apartments with solar home system, and finally an experience survey to identify the causes and possible solutions of the problems. In analysis of the qualitative data, two methods of analysis has been used: analytical induction & data display and analysis has been used. The findings from this analysis have been used to develop hypothesis and suggest further studies. This research has found that the government regulation is very vague and has been imposed on households who lack sufficient knowledge, incentive and interest to implement Solar Home System (SHS). The market also lacks regulation to monitor and control quality and price. Housing developers are yet to realize this discrepancy in quality so there is no benchmark in the market. Solar panels and batteries use-up a lot of space in the apartment buildings which is a big concern for the developers. However, many apartments have made clever installation of the equipments maximizing the utility of existing common space without creating any problem for the residents. Implementing Solar Home System is considered an unnecessary expense a large portion of which is passed on to the apartment buyers. SHS is used as an emergency power unit, an alternative to generators, IPS and substation. All the apartment buildings studied in this research accommodate both SHS and one or more of the other emergency power units. In most cases, households rely more on the conventional emergency power units rather than on SHS. Many are dissatisfied with the performance of SHS in their apartment while a few thinks SHS should be well maintained and continued to be used. Many are unwilling to bear any expense for maintenance of SHS while some feel they are bound. Also, the stand-alone system used in the apartment buildings surveyed relies on the national grid when there is insufficient sunlight, hence ultimately using the power from the grid system to run the batteries. From our research, we suggest that further studies should be carried out at large scale at later stages of this new industry. The findings from the suggested researches might be different from our small-scale research. This group suggests further researches to identify factors that affect households’ attitude towards SHS, if revision is required by the current act on solar power, and if regulating the market would benefit the suppliers. BACKGROUND

Bangladesh has been facing significant demand-supply gap of electricity which is one of the major barriers to our economic growth. Bangladesh is losing at least 3.5% of Gross Domestic product (GDP) due to the shortage of power supply according to a research report of Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) (Ahmed, R., 2010). Only 45% of the population has access to electricity (FY 2008). In 2007, the electricity demand-supply gap was about 2000MW (Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources). Photovoltaic system uses solar energy for generation of electricity. In Bangladesh, the total solar energy received in a year is 180X109 MWhr which is 105 times the electricity generated (Zaman M et el, 2006)....
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