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February 21, 2021

Residential consumers add 120MW to grid: Nepra

Business

February 21, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s residential electricity consumers have installed 120 megawatts of solar power generation capacity since the launch of net metering regulations, a senior official said on Saturday.

National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Chairman Tauseef Farooqi said consumers have been provided with an opportunity to become the producers of electricity. “Nepra is paving the way for clean energy and establishing a liberalised power market for its consumers,” Farooqi said during the launch of ‘Barriers and Drivers of Solar Prosumage: A Case Study of Pakistan’.

The case study by the Institute of Policy Studies prepared last year said the cumbersome procedure makes it quite challenging to get the generation licence, while power distribution companies continued to be reluctant towards distributed generation growth owing to administrative burden of processing applications, perceived fears of revenue losses and integration challenges.

Nepra had unveiled net metering regulations in 2015, letting consumers to share surplus solar electricity with the grid, known as distributed generation.

“Distributed generation remains to be a key focus area for Nepra to satisfy the ever-increasing electricity demand,” said Farooqi. “Nepra envisions greening the power sector by promoting renewable power generation according to the government's goals and objectives. Net-metering is one of the most effective instruments that triggered the renewable power market development – particularly for the solar PV [photo-voltaic] market at the grass-root level.”

Nepra chairman said distributed generation through net-metering is one of the most effective tools to enable renewable power generation at the grass-root level and is one of the key focus areas of Nepra for meeting increased electricity demands sustainably.

“Nepra will look into and try to benefit from the recommendations provided in the study while continuing its efforts to improve the regulatory environment for the promotion of net-metering in Pakistan,” he said. Challenges at inter-connection phase identified as the dominant challenge to PV system development include time lapse in acquiring of three-phase metering equipment at the initial stage, absence of online facility for applications, unavailability of bi-directional meters, and unnecessary delay in processing of the applications at every stage.

The speakers highlighted the importance of promoting clean energy through cheap renewable energy resources, while emphasising the need of increased use of solar power to curb the problems in the energy sector.

The experts assessed barriers hindering the solar energy uptake in the country, whereas consent was developed to cater these barriers through mutual efforts and promote renewable energy targets set in Alternative and Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy 2019.

Under the policy, the government intends to have 20 percent of power generation capacity as ARE technologies by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030. Such targets can be achieved but will require upgrade of the transmission infrastructure. This target, together with over 30 percent hydropower, will result in one of the most environmentally friendly and affordable electricity mix compared to the heavily dominated mix of imported fossil fuels in the past.