Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy, Bangladesh
Manufacturing and installing solar home systems for rural Bangladesh
Nearly 70% of households in Bangladesh are not connected to the electricity grid and so depend on kerosene for lighting. This includes most rural areas, and also the fringes of Dhaka. There are plans to extend the grid, but there is little prospect of substantial change in the near future.
Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy (formerly Rahimafrooz Batteries) played a leading role in the very successful Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Project (REREDP) - a major programme to provide photovoltaic (PV) solar home systems to rural households in Bangladesh, and thus bring the benefits of electric lighting, phone charging and radio. The company applied its expertise in battery manufacture to the production of batteries specifically for solar-home-systems, as well as designing and manufacturing charge controllers and fluorescent lamps. At the time of their 2006 Ashden Award, Rahimafrooz had supplied 25,000 complete solar home systems for the project and batteries for a further 50,000 systems. Outside the REREDP they had installed 448 kWp of PV in other systems and exported 80,000 solar batteries.
The work of Rahimafrooz has continued to expand. By 2011 they had installed 200,000 solar home systems, and a wide range of larger solar systems, including a flood water irrigation scheme, water purification systems for providing drinking water, and power systems for mobile phone masts. They’ve even installed a solar system for the office of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh!