Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) Solar power is like a ray of hope for some 60 million people of Pakistan who don’t have electricity at their households as the abundantly available source of renewable energy should be used to energize thousands of off-grid homes in the country.
This was suggested by the Chairman of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Tauseef H Farooqui, as he was addressing the 1st International Conference and Exhibition on Solar Energy as the guest of honour of the event. The Energy Update organized the conference.
The NEPRA Chairman urged the energy sector companies dealing in solar power to provide innovative energy solutions to energize the houses of 30 percent of the Pakistani population that were deprived of electricity.
“Do come up with an innovative solution to provide electricity to these off-grid people as it is a huge untapped electricity market for you,” said the NEPRA chief while addressing the solar companies’ top officials present on the occasion.
He said the NEPRA had been doing its best to promote the usage of Net metering system for greater reliance on renewable energy sources in the country.
He informed the audience of the conference that owing to the efforts of NEPRA the hydroelectricity as per the global norm would also be counted as a renewable energy source in Pakistan. After this inclusion, Pakistan in coming years would be in a position to generate up to 60 per cent of its national electricity mix on the basis of alternative means of power.
He said that owing to the efforts of the NEPRA the power sector companies had been motivated to do welfare activities for disadvantaged people in their respective licensed areas.
In his keynote address on the occasion, the CEO of Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), Shah Jahan Mirza, said that renewable sources of electricity still accounted for only six per cent of the national energy mix. So, much efforts have to be made to increase this ratio to 30 per cent till the year 2030 in accordance with the revised Renewable Energy policy of Pakistan, he said.
He said the AEDB had completed the formalities to introduce the system of competitive bidding to facilitate the installation of solar and wind power projects in the country.
He said the AEDB had also been working on the project to operate 14,000 tube wells in agricultural lands of Balochistan on the basis of solar energy.
Addressing the conference as its chief guest, Sindh Energy Minister, Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh, said that solar power could play an important role in curbing harmful carbon emissions in the country in accordance with the Paris Agreement of which Pakistan is a signatory.
He said that Sindh was blessed with the only functional wind corridor in the country as the entire area of the province was also most suitable for solar power generation.
He said the Sindh government had also launched the World Bank-assisted project to provide solar home systems to 200,000 off-grid households in Sindh.
He said the same project would be used to install solar power systems at 35 big government-run hospitals in the province.
The Energy Minister said the Sindh government had allocated 55,000 acres of land of the province exclusively for renewable energy projects.
He said the relevant federal authorities shouldn’t impede the efforts of the Sindh government to install new wind energy projects for overcoming the countrywide electricity shortage.
He said that Pakistan surely needed more renewable energy projects to overcome the issue of grave energy shortfall equally affecting both urban and rural areas.
The Sindh Energy Minister appealed to the federal government not to impede progress in installing new renewable power projects merely on the pretext that Pakistan had already been generating surplus electricity.
Robin Xing, Huawei Pakistan Country Manager, and Naeem Qureshi, chairman of the organising committee of the conference also spoke on the importance of solar-based electricity for resolving the energy problems of Pakistan.
On this occasion Usman Waheed Country Director Sungrow Power Supply, SAPM on Maritime Affairs Mehmood Moulvi, Samir Mir Shaikh, Bilal Shaikh COO Kilowatt Labs Technologies, Umer Ahmed Farooqui Head of R&D Inverex Solar Energy, Tayyaba Rasheed VP Faysal Bank Limited, Farman Lodhi CEO Solis Energy, CEO Adaptive Technologies Shaaf Mehboob, Irfan Ahmed Director HESCO, Raza feroze Feroze Power, Vice Chairman Pakistan Solar Association Waqas Moosa, CEO IPS Waseem Shaikh, Director Diwan Int’l Faaz Diwan, Wasif Laeeq from Orient Energy System also spoke on the occasion.