The government of Punjab province in Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to install rooftop solar power systems on about 20,000 schools.
According to media reports, the chief minister of Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, recently reviewed the progress of the Khadam-e-Punjab Ujala Programme. The government-backed scheme aims to set up rooftop solar power systems at schools, health centers, and higher education centers such as Bahawalpur University.
The Punjab government has support from Asian Development Bank and the AFD Bank of France for this program. Solar power, and renewable energy as a whole, has found substantial backing from the Pakistani establishment over the last few years. The country continues to grapple with demand-supply mismatch in its power sector with consumers suffering from long hours of load shedding.
Pakistan’s dependency on imported electricity has increased as it imports 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran and plans to increase this volume to 3,000 megawatts.
Over the last few months several international project developers have announced plans to set up large-scale solar power projects following the successful implementation of the initial phases of the 1,000-megawatt Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park, also in the Punjab province.
The South Asian country is expected to continue to see such interest from international project developers as the solar power tariffs in the country are at a massive premium to the bids being discovered globally through competitive auctions.
In late 2015, Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) announced a 25% reduction in solar feed-in tariffs. Even at these reduced tariffs the developers of these projects are expected to get around 11.0/kWh. In neighboring India, however, tariffs discovered through competitive auction have fallen to 6.5¢/kWh, and more recently to 4.9¢/kWh.
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