Punjab government has announced its plan to install solar-power systems at over 15,000 school buildings across the province. In subsequent phases, 700 basic health units and the Bahawalpur University campus will also be switched over solar power.
Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday called a meeting. He reviewed all aspects of the solar project, with a special focus on implementation and managing the project in cooperation with Asian Development Bank and the AFD Bank of France. The chief minister also discussed progress on the 100MW solar power generation agreement inked with Turkish company Zorlu Energi.
The meeting was attended by the Chairman Planning and Development, Secretary Higher Education, Secretary School Education, Secretary Health, Secretary Finance and Secretary Energy as well as other senior officials.
The chief minister directed the officials to develop clear polices and plans, and to tighten coordination between foreign and local authorities.
The CM was informed that an agreement has been reached with the renowned Turkish company Zorlu Energi. The company is also working on 100 MW ‘Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park’ in Bahawalpur that is expected to be completed mid 2017.
The company is interested in installing additional solar power plant of 200 MW at Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park. Negotiations are under way with the Turkish firm, the meeting was told.
Why Is Solar Energy Important For Pakistan?
Pakistan lies in a solar power rich geographic region of the world. The solar potential can be unleashed to harness immense amount of clean energy. The solar-powered electricity could be provided to off-grid communities in the remote areas of the country as well.
It is estimated that approximately over 40,000 remote villages can be powered through solar energy. Furthermore, the solar power will help reducing the import of fossil fuels which is a significant burden on Pakistan’s economy.
Pakistan’s energy mix is highly dependent on oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas that account for 64% of the total primary energy supplies. Coal contributes only 0.04% to the total energy consumption, while nuclear energy has a share of over 4% and the rest 31% is added by hydroelectricity.
Pakistan can make use of the widely distributed solar energy for improving the economic conditions and standard of living. Well-organized and sophisticated plans are needed to be taken by the government to promote the use of clean energy.