social enterprise SOLshare has successfully piloted the world’s first ICT-enabled peer-to-peer electricity trading network for rural households with and without solar home systems in Shariatpur, Bangladesh.
Current solar home systems are limited in capacity and continue to remain prohibitively expensive for a large portion of the 65 million people who do not have access to the grid in Bangladesh. As a result, they rely on costly and unhealthy alternatives like diesel generators and kerosene lamps.
SOLshare has implemented the project is done with the help of its implementation partner, the NGO UBOMUS, its financing partner IDCOL and research partner United International Universit-Centre for Energy Research, SOLshare combines solar home systems and centralized mini-grids to enable more rural households to access renewable electricity at a lower cost.
The trading network interconnects households via a low-voltage DC grid and controls power flows through bi-directional metering integrated with an ICT backend; handling payment, customer service, and remote monitoring. Each SOLshare meter enables the user to buy and sell renewable electricity with neighboring households, businesses and rural industries.
People in rural Bangladesh are now earning additional income by selling their surplus electricity and at the same time, new users have gained access to electricity for the first time in their life – without any large, centralized grid.
Trading renewable electricity through a SOLshare village grid can unlock at least up to 30% excess generation capacity of existing solar home systems. Through the usage of the full power generation capacity, more people benefit from a clean, reliable source of electricity, at a low cost.
This electricity trading platform turns the purchase of a solar home system into an investment with a return.
SOLshare expects to operate more than 20,000 nanogrids by the end of 2030, which are expected to supply more than 1,000,000 customers in Bangladesh, including interconnecting them to the national grid through a single point of common coupling.