A non-traditional source of electricity of much potential in the rural areas is solar power. It is very well suited for rural Bangladesh because it does not involve expending so much resources on wires, poles and other equipment. Users need to make only a one-time investment in solar panels that last decades with good maintenance. They do not have to pay bills and are not harassed by regular periods of power shut-off of the type suffered by REB users.
Solar power has proved to be efficient in all assessments made so far. Good and almost continuous sunshine is almost guaranteed round the year in Bangladesh. Solar energy is very clean and very environment friendly, unlike coal or fuel oil.
Government patronage of solar power schemes can speed up the use of solar electricity in the rural areas. It can take the form of loans distributed by the nationalised commercial banks (NCBs) to buy the solar panels on easy terms and conditions, adequate publicities in the mass media to make people aware of the benefits of solar power, further reduction of taxes on the import of the solar panels so that these can be marketed substantially cheaper and extending other facilities to the private developers of solar power.
Not only solar power, it is high time to try and popularise other non-conventional forms of energy to decrease dependence on conventional forms of energy like burning diesel or gas to produce power. Such production of energy is relatively expensive, wasteful and creates external dependency. On the other hand, the alternative forms of energy such as solar power, biogas, wind energy and wave energy are very environment friendly and should be particularly suitable for Bangladesh.
The government should adopt appropriate policies with no loss of time to popularise the uses of these forms of energy extensively. Even in a developed country like Britain, non-conventional or alternative sources of energy are now supplying substantially the national needs of energy.