Source: The Business Standard
Teesta Solar Limited, a subsidiary of the Beximco Group, has commenced power generation and transmission to the national grid on a trial basis.
Once fully operational, the 200 MW plant in Gaibandha will be the country's largest solar-based power station, bigger than the 134.3 MW plant of Energon Renewables Ltd, a concern of the industrial conglomerate Orion Group, in Mongla.
The Teesta Solar plant has been generating power on a trial basis since 6 December last year and continues to supply power to the national grid, sources told The Business Standard (TBS).
However, the project has yet to receive approval for commercial operation.
When asked, Nirod Chandra Mondal, joint secretary (Renewable Energy) at Power Division, told TBS, "We have learnt that the plant is supplying electricity to the grid for over a month now but not sure of whether it was given approval for commercial operation."
The project is a crucial solution to the power crisis in the northern region, which is facing challenges due to its dependence on imported primary fuels and the pressure it places on the country's forex reserves.
However, the cost of electricity per unit at this plant, which is $0.15 per kilowatt hour, is a matter of concern as it is expected to increase the revenue deficit of the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) due to its high purchase cost.
The BPDB has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Tessta Solar Limited to buy electricity from this plant.
Despite several attempts, The Business Standard could not get any comment from either Beximco or BPDB on this matter.
Beximco raised around $400 million through green Sukuk bonds, sharia-compliant bonds, to build the project on 600 acres of land at Latshal in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha district. A portion of these funds also went towards the group's 30-megawatt solar power plant in the northern district of Panchagarh.
The Tessta Solar Limited project faced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global economic crisis following the Russia-Ukraine war. Shipping of construction materials and equipment from abroad was interrupted.
Longi Solar supplied HI-MO 5 series modules – an overall superior solar module when considering durability attributes – to the plant, while a consortium of Rays Power Infra and Zetwerk Manufacturing Businesses provided engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance services.
As of now, Bangladesh's total power generation capacity stands at 26,700 MW – 3.5% or 957.67 megawatts from renewable energy sources.