By SALMAN ABDUHOO
LAHORE – The solar energy resource has been calculated at 800 million megawatt while its estimation for our country is about 100,000 megawatts, as Pakistan is the 6th luckiest country in the world where sun-availability is up to 16 hours on average.
This was stated by Jawaid Tariq Khan, Chairman Highnoon Group of Companies, while talking to The Nation here on Saturday.
Mr Jawaid asked the govt to pay special attention for launching solar energy projects to overcome the rising energy needs in the country.
He said that the solar energy intensity in the sun belt is approximately 1,800-2,200 KWh per square meter with an annual sunshine duration of 8 to 8.5 hours.
“These values are among the highest in the world and ideal for the ‘photo voltaic’ and ‘concentrating solar plants’,” he said.
He said that the easiest and fastest way to overcome the energy shortage is electrification based on solar energy. In addition to electrification of villages, single homes, water heaters, tube wells and street, traffic and parking lights could be lit by solar energy, he added.
Many developed countries including USA, Spain, Germany and even the UAE were building entire cities electrified on solar energy simply because it is the cheapest source of energy, which runs for at least 20 years. He observed that small generation systems could be arranged within six months and so many thousands of systems in the same period of time.
He said that solar energy is pollution-free and with the help of photovoltaic devices light energy can be converted into electricity.
According to international estimates, Punjab is the most suitable place for setting up solar energy projects, he added. He informed that China could be helpful in launching new solar energy projects besides providing technical assistance for feasibility studies, capacity building and training and procurement of solar based home appliances.
“Currently, there is no solar plant in megawatt capacity installed in the country, except of a meagre capacity of 80 kilowatts. Despite the huge potential for micro hydro power, the current installed micro hydro capacity in Pakistan is zero, he observed.
Mr Jawaid said that he was extremely impressed by the vision of former US vice president Al Gore of alternative energy, as he established ‘Live worth’ in view of protecting the population and earth from pollution and for the first time he considered to generate energy from other sources which were cheaper and save for human life, he pointed out.
“So we started study work on solar energy in 2006 with a view to launch some solar energy projects in the country, as we needed to ensure a vertically integrated and holistic vision capable of serving the long-term needs of the country and fully exploit the God-gifted renewable energy potential,” he asserted.
Chairman Highnoon Group of Companies said that they offered to electrify a village with solar energy in Muzaffar Garh. He said that details in this regard were being worked out between the govt and Highnoon Solar.
He said: “All big projects importing technology should have technology knowledge and ‘percentage local development’ clauses including the contracts to promote local manufacture and create employment. All projects should have strict deadlines and measurable milestones. Besides, we need to master at least three major renewable energy technologies.
To achieve this we need to create a vibrant local market through government help; encourage entrepreneurship, investment, research innovation and growth.”
He said that Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmad has recently said that the Irrigation & Power Department can be an efficient platform for launching small hydel power generation as well as solar energy projects in the province to overcome the energy crisis. He quoted the minister as saying that there were 317 suitable sites already pointed-out by the department on canals and barrages where a total of 600 MW of electricity can be generated. Source: The Nation