The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $3 million grant to help the government of Bhutan to implement a renewable energy pilot project.
The grant is coming from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) to demonstrate the viability and sustainability of solar power as an alternative energy and income source.
Small-scale solar photovoltaic systems will be provided to poor rural households, which will be integrated to the national grid.
The project will also support energy-based livelihood equipment and skills training.
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The project is part of Bhutan’s 12th Five Year Plan, 2018–2023, which is designed to reduce poverty and inequality, promote gender equality, ensure renewable energy supply, improve efficiency and the effectiveness of public service delivery whilst strengthening community vitality.
Bhutan Finance Minister and ADB governor, Namgay Tshering, said: “The project aims to provide the marginalized poor rural households in Bhutan with reliable electricity in a sustainable manner and a source of livelihood by utilizing small-scale solar photovoltaic systems.”
ADB director for Bhutan, Kanokpan Lao-Araya, added: “The project will help the government identify the regulatory requirements for alternative renewable energy, develop tariff structure, particularly for residential solar photovoltaic systems, and enable rural households to produce energy for their own consumption and generate income through selling excess power to the grid.
“The project has strong pro-poor, socially inclusive, and gender-sensitive features that will demonstrate the social and economic benefits of solar power in pilot rural villages.”