By harnessing solar power, the program enabled 20 million Bangladeshis to access electricity.
The book, "Living in the Light- The Bangladesh Solar Home System Story", launched on Thursday, documents how off-grid solar electrification was mainstreamed to a large segment of the population living in rural areas.
Starting in 2003 as a 50,000 household pilot, the program at its peak, provided electricity to approximately 16 percent of the rural population.
"Bangladesh is known for its innovative development approaches. In remote and hard to reach areas, the government successfully introduced affordable off-grid renewable energy solutions through a public-private partnership. Clean electricity meant better health and living conditions for families and more study time for children," said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, in a press release on Thursday.
"Our partnership with the government for this program spans nearly two decades, and now our support has expanded to include other renewable energy options," Tembon stated.
Successive financing through the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED) Project, the World Bank supported the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (IDCOL) to implement the program.
IDCOL combined its expertise in infrastructure financing with Bangladesh’s pioneering work in micro-financing and private sector solar electrification initiatives to build a scalable off-grid electrification business model.
Between 2003 to 2018, the project reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by approximately 9.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
The program helped reduce indoor air pollution by avoiding the consumption of 4.4 billion liters of kerosene.
Building on the success of the program, the World Bank extended support to scale up other clean renewable energy options including solar irrigation, solar mini-grids, roof-top solar, and solar farms.