Bangladesh’s Ambitious Solar Plan

The population of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is approximately 165.18 million people[1]. In 2018, 85.2% of the people in this south Asian country had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Bangladesh’s economy was ranked 41st in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on agriculture and the export of clothing, textiles, shrimp, and tea.

In 2016, Bangladesh signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to an unconditional 5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to business-as-usual levels. Bangladesh committed to an additional 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, conditional on international support.

In 2017, the state-owned Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh used natural gas (72.3%), oil (23.9%), coal (1.9%), and renewable energy (1.9%). Hydropower is the primary source of renewable energy in Bangladesh.

On October 19, 2020, the Bangladesh government announced the National Solar Energy Action Plan, which envisions establishment of utility scale solar hubs across the country. The government plan sets a goal of developing 40,000 MW of solar capacity by 2041.

Potential energy hubs include a floating solar park at the Kaptai Dam, which has a water reservoir with an area of 750 km2. The Kaptai Dam is located approximately 150 miles southeast of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka. Other potential energy hubs include along the banks of the numerous estuaries and rivers in the country.

Over the past decade, Bangladesh has experienced consistent economic growth and prosperity. The country’s future economic growth will require a dramatic reduction in the import of expensive fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).

Bangladesh has significant renewable energy potential including solar, hydropower, and biomass, which could meet the country’s current and future power demands. However, previous governments have failed to implement previous renewable energy programs.

Will the current government of Bangladesh begin to move the country’s fossil fueled economy to clean, low-cost renewable energy? Bangladesh’s economic and environmental future is depending on it.


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Bangladesh Population (2020) –  October 28, 2020

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Bangladesh

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

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