Greenspace October 26, 2012 By Jordan Sayle

Dipal Barua founded the Bright Green Energy Foundation with the goal of helping his native Bangladesh become the first in the world to run primarily on solar energy. Barua tells PLANET that his plan for installing 7.5 million household solar energy systems in Bangladesh’s rural area by 2020 is part of a vision that eventually involves 51% of the country coming to rely on solar. Best of all, the effort adds a vibrant green energy sector to the economy, including the aim of 100,000 rural grassroots businesses run by women. Though a long way from realizing his dream, Barua received a sign of encouragement as the first recipient of the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2009.

All of this will inform the discussion at the conference on off-grid renewable energy. The attendees may want to keep in mind the IEA’s contention that even with market forces at work, 1.2 billion people still stand to remain cut off from electricity access in the year 2030 without further policies. The financial costs of expansion are not insubstantial, but the low cost in carbon emissions that would accompany a global supply of modern energy is notably an increase of only 0.8%. With very little downside, there are a lot of people whose lives can be electrified and who can thereby be empowered.

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