Renewable Energy (Solar Home System)
IDF started Solar Home System Program with the assistance of Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), a government owned company in 2003. The main purpose of this program was to provide electricity to the rural and remote areas where people do not have access to grid power. IDF provides medium and long-term credit facility to the families living in non-grid areas to procure these systems. IDF with three other partners established a 100kw mini solar plant in Shandwip, an isolated island of Chittagong district with the assistance of IDCOL.
IDF has established a separate management team for maintaining quality of service as well as operations of solar program. It has also a separate coordination office from where the whole operation is managed. It has also separate area office, branch office and employees for this program. There is a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism in IDF’s solar program. The recovery rate of loan in the solar program is 99.23%.
An efficient servicing facilities system is developed to support the clients. Efficient services to clients are ensured in two ways through following mechanisms:
- Through technicians at the field level.
- Customers training on the use of SHS.
- Local Service Unit
- Customer Care Service Centre ( call centre)
Solar Mini grid: As at December, 2016, IDF established 24 mini grids at different places in the country. The biggest mini grid IDF established in partnership with 4 other organizations is located in Shandwip, an island in Chittagong district. This was the biggest in the country at that time. The capacity of Shandwip mini grid is 100 KW.
Solar Manufacturing and Services Unit: Charge controller and mobile charger are important tools of solar home system. IDF established a manufacturing unit to produce mobile charger and charge controller to ensure quality services to the customers.
Local Servicing Centre: IDF has 8 local servicing centres in 8 different locations with expert technicians to provide prompt services to the customers. The technicians must provide service as soon as they receive complains directly or through “call centre”. All kinds of accessories are available at the branch level.
Customer Care Service: In order to provide efficient service and develop a close relationship with customers, IDF has established “Customer Care Centre” in the Coordination Office. The main objectives of the centre is to contact with the customers over phone on a regular basis in order to ensure quality service to the customers. About 200 customers are covered in one day and thus in one week a total of 1200 customers are covered. The results of this centre are very encouraging.
Improved Transport System: In 2015, IDF started to provide e-bike to its staff members in order to improve the mobility, efficiency and thereby productivity. All staff members will gradually receive e-bikes for their field work at affordable costs.
Area Coverage: IDF solar program is in operation in 20 districts. These are in Chittagong, Sylhet, Dhaka and Rajshahi divisions. IDCOL is the main source of fund of IDF SHS Program. The details of loans and grants received from IDCOL are shown in Table 13.