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Thursday June 20, 2024

Call for allowing electricity donations from rooftop solar systems

By Our Correspondent
May 27, 2024
Technicians work on solar panel in power station at Hub, near Karachi. — Reuters/File
Technicians work on solar panel in power station at Hub, near Karachi. — Reuters/File

Well-off consumers with rooftop solar systems should have the opportunity to donate excess clean energy for charitable causes, benefiting deserving segments of society.

Moin M Fudda, former managing director of the Karachi Stock Exchange and former chairman of the Central Depository Company of Pakistan, suggested this at a seminar on net metering and distributed generation policies recently organised by the Energy Update in partnership with Hopewind.

He emphasised that incorporating philanthropy into the net metering system would allow generous consumers to support deprived communities and charitable institutions by donating surplus electricity. Specifically, he highlighted the potential benefits for underprivileged areas in Karachi, such as Lines Area and Lyari, where residents struggled to pay their electricity bills, especially during peak summer months.

Fudda also discussed the likely positive impact of such a donation programme on mosques, seminaries and charities that faced challenges in meeting their electricity requirements due to financial constraints.

Furthermore, he urged the government not to impede industrialists and businessmen planning to install large off-grid solar power systems with significant generation capacity, as this would help them avoid costly grid electricity purchases for their operations.

He suggested that the government should permit a net metering system for households with a single-phase electricity connection if it genuinely wanted rooftop solar installations to benefit low-income power consumers.

He mentioned that rooftop solar power systems in the country had an installed generation capacity of approximately 1,938 megawatts (MW). Syed Salman Mohiuddin, Hopewind regional head, stated that only 5.4 per cent of the country's 40,000MW installed power generation capacity was based on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. He highlighted that hydropower contributed around 25 per cent to Pakistan's power mix.

He emphasised that Pakistan must make more efforts to achieve the goal of generating 60 per cent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, by 2030, as achieving this target in the next six years was highly unlikely.

He suggested that the government should promote the installation of rooftop solar systems to meet its clean energy generation targets. He advocated for the implementation of an inclusive policy for a net metering system in the country, with specific provisions for domestic, commercial, and industrial consumers.