Pakistan suffered a severe power crises in the last decade, forcing it to explore other means of producing energy. As a result, the demand for solar panels grew exponentially. Today, most city-dwellers still choose to rely on traditional energy, but rural villages, especially in Sindh, are taking a new approach to power.
An agreement, therefore, has been finalized recently on behalf of Sindh government with the suppliers for the supply of solar-powered electricity to 200,000 households in 10 districts of the province. According to Sindh Minister for Energy Imtiaz Sheikh “200,000 houses in Sujawal, Badin, Mithi, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Khairpur, Ghotki, Kashmore, Jacobabad and Qambar-Shahdadkot districts would be energised with solar power under this agreement.
Pakistan has some of the highest values of insolation in the world with eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, ideal climatic conditions for solar power generation. The country has solar plants in Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. However, the country has been slow to adopt the technology.
The country introduced an Alternative Energy Policy 2019, which sets aggressive targets of at least 20 per cent renewable energy generation by year 2025 out of its total energy generation, and 30 per cent by 2030. The Energy Development Board, in support with the World Bank, has established nine ground-based solar measurement stations across the country, including in Bahawalpur, Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Karachi, Quetta and Khuzdar.
However, Sindh takes the lead among them, as more than 14000 LED had already been installed couple of years ago on street lights in the Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Larkana and Sukkur districts, besides 350 primary schools have been solarised in Thar alone. Not only that, the Sindh government has announced a 400MW solar power plant in the Jamshoro district, which would be completed by 2023. In Dablo’s neighborhood alone, many homes have set up panels on roofs to power mobile phones, fans and lightbulbs. Many villages in Sindh are now switching to solar power, as it is affordable, clean and eco-friendly.
According to Karachi’s Electronics Dealers Association, on average around 15 containers of solar panels, batteries and convectors arrive at the city’s port every day from China. Out of the stock, 75 per cent is sold to rural areas.