POST TIME: 11 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Solar power for agriculture

Solar power for agriculture

According to a recent report published in a local daily a number of solar irrigation pumps will be installed in northern and southern districts. This indeed is welcome news especially since the project is under the private sector which enhances the prospect of economic viability of solar energy in this country. The government has also taken the matter seriously enough and plans to install as many as 1,500 solar-powered irrigation pumps all over the country in order to reduce dependence on diesel-run pumps within three years.

Currently the farmers rely on 266,000 electrically powered water pumps to irrigate 1.7 million hectares and .3 million diesel-run pumps to irrigate 3.4 million hectares (8.4 million acres) of land, using nearly a million tonnes of fuel. So 1,500 solar-driven pumps may not look much. However it is a beginning in the right direction. Rural areas often do not get adequate power supply and fuel costs are getting increasingly prohibitive.  With the cost of installing solar panels coming down, each village in future may be able to set up panels and generate enough power for irrigation. Initially though, donor agencies as well as non-governmental organisations, micro-finance institutions, private companies and commercial banks can play a vital role in funding the installation of more pumps.     

With long hot summer months Bangladesh is an ideal candidate for increased use of solar energy. If solar and other renewable energy sources can gradually replace the use fossil fuels in the irrigation sector not only will it save crores of taka spent in importing diesel but emission free agricultural practice will help reduce the carbon foot print to a great degree.  

With climate change becoming a looming threat the country must look for ways to increase the use of renewable energy sources like solar power. Solar energy generates energy without releasing greenhouse effect gases (GHG), making them an indispensable ally in the battle against climate change and environmental degradation. In any case fossil fuels will be depleted in the long rung unlike solar power.

The need for using solar energy in Bangladesh can’t be overemphasised. The sun is a huge source of renewable, clean energy. Some estimates that sunlight could produce 10,000 times as much power as the earth used at the turn of the 21st century. And as long as there is a sun, there will be solar power. After all, the sun is not dying any time soon. With rapidly increasing technological advances in harnessing the power of the sun the future of solar energy looks bright indeed.