Omera Solar, the renewable energy wing of one of Bangladesh’s largest conglomerate East Coast Group, has been strongly active in Bangladesh market for last 10 years, recently installed a rooftop solar system for producing approximately 1.5MW to 3MW per day (capacity of 462.44 kilowatt) of electricity for the country’s renowned garment company Fakir Fashion Ltd at its Rupganj factory. LONGi Solar was chosen as the exclusive module supplier for the project. In an exclusive interview, Omera Solar’s senior manager, Mr Shakib Khan talks about the company’s experience of working with LONGi Solar over these years. Mr Khan has been part of the East Coast Group for over seven years, leading the renewable energy operations at Omera and managing the solar EPC team across rooftop and utility-scale projects. Responsible for O&M and contract administration (including vendor management, warranties and renewals), Mr Khan shares his opinion on the performance of LONGi’s solar modules used in their past projects and future plans with LONGi to capture the growing solar power market in Bangladesh.
What are the key features of the recently completed rooftop solar project for Fakir Fashion? How would the project help Fakir Fashion meet its energy demand?
This project is unique and first of its kind in Bangladesh. Omera Solar worked as a project developer for Fakir Fashion, which will get the ownership of the project after an agreed tenure under a lease model. We have used LONGi Solar’s Mono PERC Half-cut PV modules (LR4-72HPH) for this project.
Currently, 462 kW capacity has been commissioned as part of Phase I. This will help Fakir Fashion to meet around 20 per cent of its load requirement during daytime. The garment manufacturer has a target to expand the capacity of solar power and meet up to 70 per cent of its daytime requirement through solar power.
What made Omera select LONGi modules over other competing products?
Back in 2017, we were looking for partners and exploring the global PV module space for the rooftop solar project market in Bangladesh. That is when we discovered about LONGi, which was a leading wafer and cell manufacturer at that time and came across as a focused player working towards expanding its PV module manufacturing units. They were investing heavily on R&D and offered the lowest module degradation in the market. We also visited their headquarters and manufacturing facilities in Xi'an. This is when we learnt about their strength and backward integration model. We also visited one of their projects - a 43 MW solar plant. All these developments helped us gain confidence in LONGi as our partner.
What has been the company’s experience with using LONGi for its projects? What has been the performance of their modules so far?
We have been in partnership with LONGi for couple of years now. We are working on a ground mounted project and several rooftop projects using LONGi modules.
The performance of their solar PV modules has been very satisfactory. We have been using their Mono PERC PV modules and getting good output even during the winter season well. LONGi has also been extremely reliable in terms of after sales service. They always take feedback of their previous supplies for our projects and advise regularly on their upcoming products and services.
What is Omera’s current and future project pipeline – in rooftop and utility-scale solar space? Would you continue to source modules from LONGi for these?
Omera Solar has had a presence in the solar market of Bangladesh for over 10 years. We are currently focused on providing sustainable energy solutions for commercial and industrial businesses in Bangladesh by setting up rooftop solar projects for them. We are currently also working on two utility-scale projects in Bangladesh. So, between rooftop and utility-scale segments, our capacity split would be around 50:50.
Going forward, our target is to produce at least 50 MW of electricity from rooftop solar systems for the country’s industries by 2021-22. Omera Solar has already signed MoUs with several companies to reach the target and more companies are showing interest. We also plan to set up 200 MW of utility scale solar capacity in Bangladesh by 2021-22. For all these projects, we would like to continue sourcing PV modules from LONGi. So, together with LONGi, we have a long-term plan to grow in Bangladesh market.
LONGi, headquartered in Xi'an, China, focuses on manufacturing PV products and providing solar power technology solutions. Its product offerings range from wafers, cells, modules and PV solar power equipment to solar power systems. The LONGi Group has evolved into a global company with assets of approximately US$8.38 billion and more than US$4.65 billion in annual revenues in 2019.