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UN development agency brings solar power to rural Bangladesh

UN development agency brings solar power to rural Bangladesh

New projects supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are bringing solar power to small towns in Bangladesh, enabling extremely poor families to increase their income and improve their quality of life, the UN agency said today.

"By introducing solar energy in remote rural villages, UNDP has been able to bring dramatic changes in the lives of the ultra-poor," said Jorgen Lissner, UNDP Resident Representative in Bangladesh. "And this technology addresses local and global environmental concerns as well."

In Pouradubi, a village in the Himalayan foothills, a UNDP-assisted project has brought clean and renewable energy to 60 of the town's poorest families, as well as to the homeless shelters. In the past, work and household chores, students' homework and evening meals had to be completed before the sun went down. Now, such activities can be extended beyond daylight hours, UNDP said.

The agency's solar energy efforts, part of its "Sustainable Rural Energy Project," extends to several rural growth centres in Bangladesh. In the remote village of Jhenidah in the western part of the country, there is now a centralized solar photovoltaic plant system with a capacity to produce 1.8 kilowatts of electricity - enough to power 45 shops, three small food-processing industries, a health centre and a mosque. Operation and maintenance of the plant has been entrusted to a local non-governmental at a cost of $2 per month per consumer.