Pakistan Turns Desert Into a Sea of Solar Panels
ISLAMABAD- One of the world’s largest solar plants in Pakistan to provide clean, reliable and help reduce chronic power shortages in the country opened.
The plant, spread over 200 hectares of desert land in the southern Pakistani province of Punjab, which will generate 100 megawatts (MW) in its initial phase and more than 300 MW by the end of the year, according to government officials.
More than a third of Pakistan’s population has no access to electricity, and power shortages are a serious obstacle to economic growth.
Inaugurating the plant, Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, said: “Since I am the prime minister, my only goal was to remove the darkness in Pakistan and make the lights back home.”
Mushahidullah Khan, Federal Minister for Climate Change, told the New Climate Network that the government is determined to make use of what he sees as a huge potential for solar energy in the country.
He said: “The fight against energy crisis is the top priority of this government that we believe is essential for economic growth, reduce poverty, increase agricultural production and industrial water supply, solar energy reduce the country’s carbon footprint. ”
The plant – known as Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park – was built in less than a year by an electrical appliance Tebian Stock Company of China, at a cost of $ 131 million.
“Solar energy is particularly suitable
in remote areas
where it is difficult connectivity to the national network ”
China has forged closer economic ties with Pakistan as part of a plan to connect the Xinjiang region, in western China Pakistani port of Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea. The government in Islamabad said that China will invest more than 30 billion in solar projects and other Pakistan in the coming years.
At present, over 60% of the power in Pakistan is generated from oil and gas, and about 30% of hydropower.
Pakistan is considered one of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region the most vulnerable to climate change.
In particular, the flow of water in the river Indo-on which millions depend on hydropower and irrigation of crops became increasingly erratic due to the variability of rainfall, melting of glaciers in the Himalayan region Western and impact of widespread deforestation.
Government officials say they are determined to go ahead with the projects more solar and wind energy across the country.
Asjad Imtiaz Ali, president of the Board of Alternative Energy Development in Pakistan, said that the development of solar and other renewable energies has been hampered in the past by the inconsistencies in government policy, and lack of understanding of clean energy.
“Solar power is especially suitable for remote areas where it is difficult connectivity to the national grid, as the Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh,” he said.
As part of the campaign for solar projects, the government recently announced the elimination of import duty on solar panels.