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Power Division moves to redesign solar street lighting in 8 city corps

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The Power Division has made a move to redesign the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded Solar Photovoltaic powered LED Street Lighting Project in eight city corporations of the country.
The project is a part of the US$ 300 million loan project of which main component is replacing the age-old power generation units at the Ashuganj power station to enhance its production capacity.
The Solar Photovoltaic powered LED (light-emitting diode) Street Lighting project will get US$ 37.86 million for solar-powered LED street lighting in the city corporations of the country.
The government signed agreement in January this year under the main project, ‘Power System Efficiency Improvement Project (PSEIP)’. The ADB is providing the loan at Libor plus 0.3 per cent for a period of 25 years with five years grace period.
ADB officials said the project aims to assist Bangladesh in cutting carbon dioxide emissions and it is an eligible project for carbon financing under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The Solar Photovoltaic powered LED Street Lighting project will replace the existing high power-consuming sodium street lights with the solar photovoltaic powered LED lights on the main roads of the city corporations.
When the loan agreement was signed, there were six city corporations in the country. But after the signing of agreement, the number of city corporations were increased by another two as the Dhaka City Corporation was split into Dhaka North and Dhaka South while Rangpur was declared as a new city corporation.
Official sources said that initially, the Power Division designed to install solar-powered LED lighting system to cover a total of about 250 kilometres of streets in all the city corporations.
But later, the security of the costly solar photovoltaic LED system has become a big concern which prompted the Power Division to move for redesigning the project.
Now, the Power Division is thinking to install only LED bulbs in the city corporation streets and expand the solar photovoltaic system in some secured places like the premises of the Prime Minister’s Office, Parliament, Ganobhaban (PM’s official residence), and Bangabhaban (President’s palace) where the security is ensured.
“Actually, security of the solar system has led us to redesign the project. Protection of the costly solar photovoltaic system and the LED lights on the open streets is a big concern for us. There is a chance for theft of the system,” said Taposh Kumar Roy, Additional Secretary at the Power Division.
He informed that the sodium lights will be replaced with LED lights, but power supply will remain as usual now from conventional power.  There will be no solar system in the streets. Solar system with LED will be only in the secured places.
Roy said the LED lights will save 60-70 percent electricity compared with the present sodium lights and now 800-900 km streets in eight city corporations could be covered under the project.
Power Division sources said the Power Development Board (PDB) will implement the project with involvement of the city corporations and the Public Works Department (PWD).
“Though the city corporations are cooperating with us, but we’re not getting adequate cooperation from the PWD,” said an official of the Power Division.
He informed that PWD is responsible for maintaining the PMO, Parliament, Ganobhaban and Bangabhaban. “So far we called three meetings, but officials from PWD attended only one meeting. They are found to be less interested in implementing the project,” the Power Division official said.
At present, Dhaka South City Corporation is implementing a pilot project to install solar streetlight from Kakrail to Arambagh (Notre Dame College) which has no link with the new project.

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