Bringing Family Together
It was mid-afternoon at Parvin Akther’s home, located in a scenic off-grid community amongst the rice paddies in Cumilla, a village 100 kilometers southeast from Dhaka. Like many households during the summer of 2018, World Cup fever had set in Parvin’s home. A gentle breeze was blowing, swaying the green and blue flags representing the football teams of Brazil and Argentina, two favorite national teams among Bangladeshis. That year, Parvin’s family would not be left behind in all of the World Cup excitement thanks to Parvin’s new solar-powered television. Her extended family could now gather together and enjoy the latest soccer match from the comfort of their home.
Recommended by her brother, Parvin’s TV came as part of a full solar package — a 130Wp solar panel, TV, fan, and five lights with an average run time of four hours. Before purchasing this solar home system (SHS), Parvin’s family had tapped electricity from a distant neighbor’s meter. The cost of obtaining power this way, however, was too high, eventually leading them to opt for a solar system instead. In comparison to Parvin’s previous TV, her new off-grid model is of much better quality. “The light is bright and the TV is brighter,” she said. Parvin threw a quick glance at her son and remarked, “The greatest benefit of the SHS is on the kids’ education, for they can now study in the night time.”
With the monsoon season approaching, Parvin and her family were looking forward to a much-needed break from the summer heat. As temperatures climbed to 31 degrees Celsius (87.8 degrees Fahrenheit), everyone cooled down inside and drank refreshing glasses of coconut water, thankful to be in close proximity to Parvin’s new fan. “Our lifestyle is better,” Parvin said. Even when soccer season ends, Parvin’s neighbors will still be dropping by to watch Bangla movies on the family’s solar TV. In addition to the entertainment and educational benefits, having these efficient household appliances has certainly also elevated their family’s social status in the community.