Cyclone Shelters, Charduani Bangladesh
The Grameen Bank of Bangladesh is famous for pioneering the concept of micro-lending and for helping poor women to establish businesses of their own. Grameen Bank has helped tens of thousands of Bangladesh citizens to raise their incomes and improve their living standards. The "Grameen Model" is now being repeated around the world.
Bangladesh is a small, low lying, heavily populated country that is regularly devastated by tropical cyclones (as hurricanes are called in the Pacific Ocean). Storm surges completely engulf villages and with no high ground to retreat to the death toll can reach into the thousands. To reduce the loss of life from these storms the government has constructed a number of cyclone shelters than that are high enough and strong enough to protect the local people during a storm.
Due to their remote location many of the new cyclone shelters do not have electricity. In 1998 Grameen Bank undertook a project to electrify four cyclone shelters with wind/solar hybrid systems. The purpose was not so much to have power during cyclone events, but rather, to use the cyclone shelters as economic empowerment zones during the other ~ 360 days of the year. With electric power the local women are able to operate sewing machines, grinding mills, and even computers.
Three Bergey 1.5 kW turbines and one 7.5 kW turbine were installed at four sites in December 1998. Grameen funded the equipment and installation, but training by a BWC technician (as shown above) was funded by US-AID.
One inverter required repairs due to shipping damage, but otherwise the systems were installed smoothly and have been working reliably.