Off-grid system safeguards only point of contact with the outside world from power cuts
The solar module manufacturer Astronergy is equipping 8,500 post offices in Bangladesh with German-made photovoltaic modules. Four 250-watt modules on each post office, together with a battery storage device, will ensure a stable and independent power supply for computers, scanners and printers – even in regions which are not connected to the power grid or often suffer power cuts. 1,500 solar installations are already in place, and by the beginning of 2018 the entire project, run by the Bangladeshi Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, should be complete. The investment costs of 20 million dollars are being borne by the government of Bangladesh.
Quality of German modules crucial
“As the post offices are the only point of contact with the outside world for the population in many regions of the country, we wanted top-quality modules,” says Syed Bakhtiar Ali, CEO of the Bangladeshi EPC Omni Power, which is responsible for setting up and maintaining all of the installations. “Long transport routes and the tropical climate place higher demands on the solar modules. Astronergy is providing us with the excellent module quality we need for this challenging project – and thanks to the highly automated German production, they are able to deliver large quantities in very short timeframes.”
Astronergy obtains material exclusively from tier 1 suppliers – the only way to ensure a smooth production process without large quantities of scrap. The company also uses a unique electroluminescence method to check the modules for microcracks and cell fracture quickly, at high resolution and fully automatically. Other strict internal and external testing ensures that the quality of Astronergy’s modules is well above certification standards.
Autonomy from frequent power cuts
“In Bangladesh the power grid is underdeveloped and there are sometimes long power cuts affecting the whole country. Our solar modules, together with the battery storage devices, guarantee three to five days of autonomy,” explains Thomas Volz, CEO of Astronergy Solarmodule GmbH in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. “Supplying clean solar energy is a good alternative to traditional energy sources in Bangladesh due to the optimal irradiation levels. Today solar energy is more profitable than diesel in many regions of the world. Moreover, it does not depend on suppliers and requires little maintenance.”