Local solar module manufacturers have demanded a provision in the upcoming national budget for the mandatory use of 20-30 percent local products in different public development projects like Kabikha (food for work), Kabita (money for work) and solar irrigation pump.
Solar Module Manufacturers’ Association of Bangladesh (SMMAB), a business body of local module manufacturers, has made the demand while placing their proposals for the national budget for 2019-20 fiscal year to the National Board of Revenue (NBR).SMMAB leaders said such a provision is essential to support the growth of the local industry to achieve the government’s target to generate 3,100 MW of electricity from renewable sources by 2021.
Local solar module manufacturers said there are a good number of development projects being implemented by the government where solar system is used or distributed. These include Kabikha, Kabita, solar irrigation, solar pump, solar rooftop and streetlight, and net metering.
“But, there’s no quota or priority for local manufacturers to supply local products. As a result, huge substandard solar modules are being used in the projects without checking their quality,” SMMAB president Munawar Misbah Moin told UNB.
“We want the government to keep aside a specific quota for local products to be used in such projects. We want to supply our products maintaining standard to be set by the government,” he added.
The local module manufacturers said the local demand is now met mostly by imported solar panels ignoring the local products.
Such a policy is not supportive to grow the local industry where local entrepreneurs have invested a huge amount of money, said another SMMAB leader wishing anonymity.He said neighbouring India has been supporting the local solar-manufacturing industries since their inception. “That’s why the Indian solar industry is virtually thriving,” he added.
Local manufacturers said they are currently capable of producing 100 MW solar modules.
SMMAB chief Munawar Moin said the local solar modules are now exported to different countries as well where they have to maintain international standard and quality.
He said such industry needs at least a five-year income tax exemption to attract more investment which will ultimately create huge jobs.