SOLshare, the initiator of the world's first peer-to-peer energy exchange network for rural communities, in collaboration with Shakti Foundation, is set to break another glass ceiling in energy innovation.
Funded by the UK Government, SOLshare and Shakti Foundation will be interconnecting one of their P2P solar microgrids – a network of interconnected solar home systems, in a rural village in Bangladesh through a single point called the "Point of Common Coupling" (PCC), to feed the excess solar energy into the national grid.
The PCC launch, held on Tuesday (21 June) morning at SOLshare's office in Dhaka was inaugurated by the event's chief guest, Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury, Bir Bikram, advisor to the Prime Minister for Power, Energy & Mineral Resources Affairs, reads a press release.
He was joined by Javed Patel, acting British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, who was the special guest for the inauguration.
Dr Tawfiq Elahi Chowdhury congratulated SOLshare and Shakti Foundation for the timely innovation in the power system saying "Hopefully, today's event will lead to the scale up of this idea so that the benefits of solar peer-to-peer microgrids would reach more customers."
He assured government support for this enterprise.
Acting British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Javed Patel said, "We are delighted to support this ground-breaking pilot programme that builds on Bangladesh's global success in solar home systems and national grid expansion. It has the potential to bring benefits to many remote rural communities as well as increase the contribution of renewable energy in the national energy mix."
The PCC (Point of Common Coupling) integrates Bangladesh's two major electrification efforts – grid extension and Solar Home System dissemination.
The Rural Electrification Board (REB) grid is connected to one side of the PCC, while the local microgrid from the SHS is connected to the other side.
The microgrid is self-sustaining and this grid infrastructure will be used for energy balancing with the national grid, while reducing load shedding, and increasing service stability.
Users of the Solar Home Systems (SHS) are able to sell electricity to the national grid to earn an additional income while paving the path to sustainability for our existing 6 million+ SHS.
This is the first step towards the formation of a smarter grid with the integration of existing distributed storage assets ultimately providing the means for the formation of a virtual power plant (VPP).
"Shakti Foundation is proud to collaborate with SOLshare in the action research to examine the feasibility of contributing power to the national grid from Solar Home Systems (SHS). We believe this will be a game-changer in climate change mitigation measures and will help realise the country's aspiration of generating 40% power from clean energy sources by 2041.", said Imran Ahmed, deputy executive director of Shakti foundation.
We are particularly excited about the potential income-generating opportunities this innovation can create for our microentrepreneurs and marginalised communities as they will be able to sell their excess electricity and collectively contribute to the economy and environment, he added.
"Having reached full electrification is a major achievement for Bangladesh. Now the need of the hour is to increase grid resilience, electricity quality, and the share of renewable energies. This pilot shows how this can be achieved by intelligently connecting user-owned assets to the national grid. Today this is starting with solar home systems, tomorrow it will continue with local electric three-wheeler (B-Tesla) batteries", commented Dr Sebastian Groh, co-founder and managing director of SOLshare.