Friday October 07, 2022

Sindh to utilise solar power to energise off-grid villages

By Our Correspondent
December 03, 2021

In order to utilise massive solar energy potential of the province, the Sindh government is working on a policy to establish mini and micro grids to energise the off-grid villages of the province at the most affordable cost in partnership with the private sector.

Sindh Energy Secretary Abu Bakar Madani said this while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on solar power. He told the seminar that the provincial government had been working on a number of initiatives to tap indigenous renewable energy resources of the province with the aim of providing affordable energy to the people of Pakistan. These clean energy resources included wind, solar, biomass, small-scale hydropower, and waste-to-energy potential available in Sindh, he said.

He added that the energy department had launched the World Bank-funded Sindh Solar Energy Project envisaging a 400-megawatt-capacity solar park and provision of 200,000 solar home systems in 10 districts of the province having low energy access. The same project is also being implemented to produce an additional 20 MWs of solar power through utilisation of the rooftops of the public sector buildings in urban areas, mainly the hospitals, Madani said.

He told the audience that the Sindh government had already installed 352 solar PV (photovoltaic) hybrid systems in 225 primary health facilitates in 13 districts of Sindh. The energy secretary said the Sindh government wanted private investors to invest in the alternative and renewable energy sector and for the purpose the Land Grant Policy 2015 was being implemented for providing land to execute clean power projects.

“The Energy Department is fully dedicated to serve the nation, facilitating the private sector by providing one-window solutions and utilising the indigenous resources of Sindh to not only produce electricity but also to reduce dependency on imported fuel for accelerating national economic growth,” he explained.

Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) Chief Executive Officer Saleem Shaikh told the seminar that recently the STDC had signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 400-MW first-ever hybrid (wind/solar) renewable energy project in Pakistan on a B2B model. He said the STDC fully stood for the cause that immense solar power potential of Sindh should be utilised for overcoming the problem of electricity shortfall for every domestic consumer in the country. He stated that the STDC had the desire to enter into similar arrangements to energise off-grid rural areas and industries of the province.

Hesco Director Irfan Ahmed said Pakistan had to make more efforts to take full advantage of the abundantly available solar energy resource in the country. He added that solar energy was a distributed resource so the provincial government should manage it on its own without interference. He said the export-oriented industries in the province would be more than willing to get supply of renewable electricity as per the requirements of their international clients.