One Million Households Powered by Solar Energy in Bangladesh

The number of households powered by solar energy in Bangladesh has passed the one million mark — the fastest expansion of solar power in the world, according to Bangladeshi officials. Aided by non-governmental organizations that provide low-cost loans to install solar panels, Bangladesh’s rural households — most of which are off the electricity grid — have driven a dizzying expansion of solar power in recent years. In 2002, only 7,000 households were using solar panels. The country reached the 1 million-household milestone 18 months ahead of schedule, and by 2014 Bangladeshi officials are aiming to power 2.5 million homes with solar energy. “It’s the fastest expansion of solar energy anywhere in the world,” said Nazmul Haq, of Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Company. An estimated 60 percent of Bangladesh’s 150 million people have no access to reliable electricity, and a World Bank report last month said that solar panels had “changed the face of the remote, rural areas of Bangladesh.”