Pakistan Solar Net Metering Installations Have More Than Doubled Since Last Year
Nearly 4,000 new net metering licenses have been issued in Pakistan in the July-September quarter, up from 2,000 in the same quarter last year. Vast majority of these are for solar photo-voltaic installation. Net metering solar installations are in addition to the rapidly growing off-grid solar panels across Pakistan. Higher electric utility (DISCO) bills and lower cost of solar panels appear to be driving the adoption of solar in Pakistan. Net metering allows users with private renewable energy production plants to connect to the electric grid and sell excess power to the local electric utility or DISCOs such as K-Electric, LESCO or IESCO in Pakistan.
|Net Metering Installations in Pakistan. Source: Jeremy Higgs|
This year has seen the fastest growth in net energy metering (NEM) growth since Pakistan launched its first NEM policy in 2015, according to data shared by Jeremy Higgs, director of operations for Islamabad-based EcoEnergy. Total number of net metering installations in Pakistan is about 16,000, according to Jeremy Higgs. National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) issued 3,334 net metering licenses with total installed capacity of 56.86 megawatt under the net-metering regime during 2019-20, according to an October, 2020 news report.
|Net Metering Installations By DISCOs in Pakistan. Source: Jeremy Higgs|
Surprisingly, Pakistan's biggest city Karachi is lagging significantly behind Lahore and Islamabad in net metering licenses. Nearly 25% of all net metering licenses in Pakistan were issued by LESCO (Lahore Electric Supply Company) in the July-September quarter. IESCO (Islamabad Electric Supply Company) has handed out 20% and K-Electric (Karachi Electric) 15%.
|Top 10 Solar Energy Countries in 2017. Source: USAID|
Back in 2017, Pakistan was ranked among the top 10 countries for investment in solar PV projects below 1 MW. Pakistan PSLM/HIES 2018-19 survey results revealed that 15.2% of all households are using solar panels as a source of energy for their homes.
|Pakistan Solar Panel Imports in Millions of US Dollars. Source: FBS Via Pakistan Today|
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province leads the nation with 40% of all households using solar energy. Rural Pakistan is embracing solar power at a faster rate than Urban Pakistan. Adoption of solar in rural areas of KP is at 43%, Sindh 33.9%, Balochistan 20.4% and Punjab 7.9%. Rapid decline in cost of solar panels appears to be driving the adoption of solar in Pakistan's rural areas where grid power is either unavailable or unreliable.
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Pakistan's population of 220 million is set to grow at a rate of 1.5 percent annually, which will lead to drastically growing demands for energy. However, energy deficiency has been a serious challenge to the security and economy of the country. Currently, almost 80 percent of Pakistan's energy supply comes from the burning of fossil fuels, such as the oil and gas that Pakistan has to import.
At the same time, Pakistan is blessed with natural resources such as sunlight and wind. According to recent studies, Pakistan's solar potential is estimated to be over 100,000 megawatts. Excellent conditions for harnessing solar energy can be found in the southwestern province of Balochistan, where the sun shines about eight hours daily or approximately 3,000 hours per year. For many Pakistani villagers who live far from the national grid, distributed solar power provides an ideal solution.
Facing the urgency of global climate change, Pakistan has been promoting more environmentally friendly renewable energy in recent years. The government intends to boost the share of clean and green energy to 60-65 percent of the total energy mix by 2030. Some key initiatives have been taken, such as the Solar Village Electrification program, under which more than 40,000 villages that are too far from the national grid to be economically connected now have energy access, and the Solar Powered Efficient Pumps program which is designed to replace 1.1 million water pumps that were previously operated with either insufficient electricity or diesel. The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power in Punjab is the first utility-scale solar power plant in the country.
To promote solar energy, the Pakistani government has also offered a flexible and attractive policy that includes tax incentives and legal protection for the return on investment (which is usually eight years, the highest in the world). Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), further incentives are offered for Chinese investors, along with other preferential treatment.
As the interviews in the book Belt and Road Through My Village have shown, Pakistani people are the beneficiaries of solar energy, which has improved the socioeconomic conditions of the common people, enhanced their income and made their lives more comfortable. Solar energy has served as a catalyst in poverty eradication. People are happy and grateful to their Chinese brethren and welcome more similar development projects to improve their lives. These projects are cost-effective, and, contrary to Western propaganda, they are not debt traps.
China is a world leader in solar energy and has been meeting the worldwide demand. Today, China can share its solar technology, experience and environmental improvement stories with the rest of the world. The Pakistani government's new policies and determination to develop solar energy provide Chinese solar companies and investors, as well as the Pakistani people, a great opportunity to grow together cleanly and sustainably.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed all Renewable Energy Investment Entities (RE-IEs) to avail financing on easy conditions to remove growing electricity shortage in the country.
The SBP on Monday said that to promote investment in RE solutions by companies, the central bank has eased the conditions for renewable energy solution providers under its Refinance Scheme for Renewable Energy.
With the aim of helping address the challenges of energy shortages and climate change, the central bank revised its Financing Scheme for Renewable Energy in July 2019. Since the inception of the scheme, 717 projects having potential of adding 1,082MW of energy supply through renewable sources have been financed. As of June 30, 2021, total outstanding financing under the scheme is Rs53 billion.
RE, often referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources — sunlight, water and wind — or processes that are constantly replenished.
Since 2019, projects promising 1,082MW of energy supply have been financed
“Now, all RE-IEs interested in installing renewable energy projects and solutions are allowed to avail refinance under Category-III of the scheme,” said the SBP.
An RE-IE is a business entity (including vendors and suppliers) whose business is to establish renewable energy projects for onward leasing, renting out or selling on deferred payment basis or selling of electricity generated from these projects to end users.
The SBP also launched a Sharia-complaint version of the scheme in August 2019. The scheme now comprises of three categories. Under Category-I, financing is allowed for setting up of RE power projects with capacity ranging from 1-50 MW for own use or selling of electricity to the national grid or a combination of both.
Under Category-II, financing is allowed to domestic, agriculture, commercial and industrial borrowers for installation of renewable energy based projects of up-to 1 MW to generate electricity for own use or selling to the grid or distribution company under net metering.
Under Category-III, financing is allowed to vendors, suppliers and energy sale companies for installation of wind and solar systems of up to 5 MW.
While there is substantial take up under Category-I and II, solution suppliers under Category-III faced problems, said the SBP.
Accordingly, in light of the feedback received from stakeholders including RE solution suppliers, Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) and banks, the requirement of AEDB certification has been relaxed for RE-IEs who do not undertake installations on their own but hire services of installers or vendors for installation of RE projects.
“However, vendors, suppliers, engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contractors of these RE-IEs will still be required to be certified under the AEDB certification regulations,” said the SBP.
The SBP expects that this revision in Category-III will further facilitate production of clean energy in the country.
Currently, according to the National Electric Power Regulator Authority state industry report 2021, Pakistan’s total installed electricity generation capacity is 143,588 GWH, of which a measly 4,521 GWH is produced by renewable sources such as solar and wind. Thermal sources account for 61.76 percent, whereas Hydel sources account for 27.02 percent. A shift toward renewable sources of energy was long pending and is a major component of Pakistan’s vision 2050.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) plans to take on the Floating Solar Project (FSP or the Project) and, in that effort, seeks financing from the World Bank. Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority has prepared a Stakeholder Engagement Plan (SEP), and according to a report by Business Recorder, it is engaged in meetings with the World Bank to establish a 300 MW floating solar project in the country.
A delegation from the World Bank is expected to reach Pakistan today for a ten-day visit, for the initial assessment and evaluation of the project. The World Bank delegation will meet with all the relevant authorities and stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Water Resources, Water and Power Development Authority, and the Economic Affairs Division. After the visit, the World Bank mission would generate a feasibility report of the project, which would detail the proposed financing and the expected Return on Investment (ROI) in the following period.
The World Bank team includes but is not limited to; Gunjan Gautam (Senior Energy Specialist and Task Team Leader), Rikard Liden (Lead Energy Specialist and co-Task Team Leader), Imran ul Haq (Senior Social Development Specialist), Sana Ahmad (Environmental Specialist), Uzma Sadaf (Sr Procurement Specialist), Shafiq Hussain (Procurement Specialist), Noureen LNU (Financial Management Specialist), Mohammad Omar Khalid (Senior Consultant) to be supported by Amna W Mir (Senior Program Associate).
The World Bank mission is expected to hold a meeting with the project management unit of WAPDA on the 22 April in Islamabad. Following which, it is scheduled to meet with the officials of the Water Resources Ministry on 23 April. The mission would also listen to briefings and partake in discussion sessions with the relevant authorities.
According to the initial assessment conducted by the Water and Power Distribution Authority of Pakistan, the project is expected to strengthen the capacity of WAPDA as it increases the supply of electricity by financing 300 MW floating solar subprojects in water body of the already existing project of the Ghazi-Barotha complex.
According to the data compiled by the German Agency for Development Cooperation (Pakistan), about 18,000 distributed generators had net-metering licences as of December 2021.
Of them, more than 15,000 were issued only in 2020 and 2021.
April 9th, 2022
Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s leading Islamic bank and Burj Solar Energy Private Limited (BSEPL) are pleased to announce the financial close of PKR 1 billion syndicated Islamic finance facility for BSEPL’s portfolio of renewable distributed power generation in Pakistan. The first tranche of PKR 580 million will be used to finance the construction of 7 MW solar power plant for Power Cement Limited on Karachi Hyderabad Motorway.
Meezan Bank led the transaction as the Mandated Lead Arranger and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company (Private) Limited participated as the Co-Arranger. The transaction structure is based on State Bank of Pakistan’s Islamic Financing Facility for Renewable Energy (IFRE) and a commercial facility.
The solar power plant will be rented to Power Cement Limited under a twenty-year equipment rental agreement and the solar energy generated will be used by the company’s cement plant in Nooriabad. It will generate 220 GWh solar units for twenty years and in addition to reducing cost of electricity, will offset 112,000 tons of CO2 GHG emissions. The project is expected to start generation in July, 2022.
Legal counsel for the financiers were Mohsin Tayebaly & Co. while Kabraji & Talibuddin Advocates and Legal Counsels acted as BSEPL’s legal counsel. Orient Energy Systems (Private) Limited is the turnkey EPC contractor for the project.
Mr. Ariful Islam, Deputy CEO, Meezan Bank, while commenting on the occasion said,‘Meezan Bank is comitted to actively support and pursue green energy initiatives. Meezan has played a key role the financing of several renewable energy projects aggregating to 380 MW, as Lead or Co-lead manager and also participated in the debt syndications of two large hydro-electric projects being set-up by the Government of Pakistan – Neelum Jhelum and Dasu. Burj Energy is an excellent initiative that will facilitate distributed affordable solar initiatives corporates, small and medium enterprises as well as the individual consumers.’ He said the Meezan has also implemented a number of green initiatives by installing solar at 59 branches branches and 140Kw solar at its Head Office. Its new regional office building in Islamabad is also being designed to be Platinum Lead certified.
Mr. Saad Zaman, Chairman of BSEPL and Burj Energy International Management Limited UAE, said, ‘I am very pleased that we have successfully reached the financial close of the 7 MW solar farm for Power Cement Limited. This is one more success for our company and a significant moment for development of hybrid renewable energy projects in Pakistan. This successful financial close reflects the ongoing interest and trust of leading financial institutions in the Pakistani renewables’ market and Burj Group.’
Mr. Kashif Habib Chief Executive Officer Power Cement Limited, said: ‘Our future is dependent on green, sustainable and renewable source of energy. By installing this 7 MW solar farm, we are taking the first step towards our hybrid solar & wind energy project. We shall keep playing our part in making our production process more environment-friendly and positively impactful for the eco-system we live in. It is high time that we look towards other viable energy options that are clean and green.
Under the provisions, the tube-well connections seeking net metering on a load up to 25kW will not require permission from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for the grant of generation licence, Dawn has learnt.
The facility will not only convert most such connections on solar but also enable consumers to produce and use the electricity on their own besides selling the additional/surplus to the respective Discos. It will also control the technical and commercial losses (power losses either due to theft or technical reasons).
“The tube-well connections can be converted to net-metering but the response was not good due to considerable investment (around Rs2 to 3 million on each connection), lack of loaning facility and awareness. Now the SBP has announced a loaning facility on a six per cent markup for launching such small schemes,” explained Lahore Electric Supply Company’s Market Implementation and Regulatory Affairs Director-General Altaf Qadir while talking to Dawn.
Moreover, the increasing power tariff due to fuel price adjustment and other issues have forced consumers having tube-well connections to contact us in this regard,” he added.
The net metering project had been launched in 2016 countrywide. It allows any domestic, commercial, industrial and other consumers having at least a three-phase meter connection to be part of the power generation system by installing it on his/her premises (house, shop, factory, open spaces, etc). Under the arrangements, such a consumer may sell the additional energy to the respective power distribution company and make stocktaking (calculations) with it at the end of the month.
Since the system allows the consumers to generate electricity from one kilowatt to one megawatt, Nepra issues licences to the applicants residing in the service area jurisdiction of all distribution companies. Before issuance of the licence, the respective companies are supposed to receive, scrutinise and process such applications.
According to Mr Qadir, there are hundreds of thousands of tube-well connections in the service areas of all nine Discos including Lesco, Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco), Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco), Gujaranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco), Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO), Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Tribal Area Electric Supply Company (Tesco), Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco), Sukkar Electric Power Company (Sepco) and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco).
It may be mentioned that most of such connections exist in a vast rural area of Mepco. The number here ranges between 60,000 to 70,000. Similarly, Lesco has 25,000 to 30,000 connections and most exist in the areas of its Kasur and Okara circles. Qesco, Gepco, Pesco, Hesco, Sepco and other companies also have a large number of such connections.
Answering a question Mr Qadir said Lesco has so far processed as many 6,000 net metering related applications out of which most (equaling to 100MW or so) have been issued generation licence by Nepra.
Presenting the budgetary proposals for the next fiscal year in the National Assembly on Friday, Pakistani Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the energy sector has pivotal importance for the people as well as the industries and trade in the country, adding that at the moment fuel prices were skyrocketing, which made thermal energy expensive. “For these sectors and the people we gave an additional subsidy of 214 billion rupees,” the minister noted.
The Finance Minister proposed tax exemption on import and local supply of solar panels. He said soft loans from banks will be arranged for the people who consume less than 200 units of electricity to purchase solar panels.
The previous government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had imposed a 17 percent general sales tax. The imposition of taxes on solar panels has received criticism from different quarters.
Earlier in May, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced the reversal of the decision to tax the solar panels, which will be implemented in FY23.
Chinese companies manufacturing solar panels will have to play a crucial role in the generation of Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) in Pakistan. At the moment, according to a market survey, more than 90 percent of solar panels and other related equipment are being imported from China. Chinese companies are executing and running solar power projects in Pakistan including 300 MW solar power projects which is operational under the umbrella of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
In a recent interview with Gwadar Pro, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “solar is very critical to Pakistan’s need today” and added, “I am expecting that China, which has the most experience in the world in solar, will come to Pakistan and help the country get more sustainable energy”. He also welcomed more Chinese companies to come to Pakistan and establish solar panel manufacturing plants in the country.
Pakistan targets an on-grid Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) generation mix of 20 percent by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030, adding the policy targets the development of ARE projects mainly on competitive bedding, unsolicited mode limited to G2G and new technologies.
Pakistan has a population of over 225 million. Approximately 88 percent of the population has access to electricity while 12 percent remains un-electrified. The annual per capita electricity consumption in Pakistan is around 550 kWh as compared with the world average of 3,081 kWh per capita.
National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) approved Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP) 2021 with demand supply projects till 2030. Under IGCEP, the current installed capacity of 34,776 MW will become 61,112 MW by the end of 2030. Apart from the committed pipeline projects, the IGCEP requires an addition of 10,062 MW of ARE capacity by 2030.
The solar net-metering power generation has reached 419MW (approximately) with a considerable number of consumers switching to solar across the country.
With around 149MW, Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) stands first among 10 power distribution companies (Discos), Dawn has learnt.
The net-metering project had been launched in 2016 countrywide. It allows any domestic, commercial, industrial and other consumers having at least a three-phase meter connection to be part of the power generation system by installing it on his/her premises (house, shop, factory, open spaces, etc). Under the arrangements, such a consumer may sell the additional energy to the respective power distribution company and make stocktaking (calculations) with it at the end of the month. Since the system allows the consumers to generate electricity from one kilowatt to one megawatt, Nepra issues licences to the applicants seeking generation below 25kW in the service area jurisdiction of all distribution companies. Before issuance of the licence, the respective companies are supposed to receive, scrutinise and process such applications.
According to an official document, Lesco, since launch of the project in 2016, received total 10,176 applications as of June, 2022 for issuance of licences for cumulative generation of around 185.975MW. The total 10,176 application included 9,561 for the generation below 25kW and 615 of over 25kW. Of these, 9,183 connections were installed and billing started to 7,288 generating total 148.853MW (148,853kW).
Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco) got total 1,528 applications for net-metering connections having a cumulative generation of 41.708MW (41,708kW) that included 1,288 and 240 seeking below 25kW and over 25kW generation. Of these, 1,446 connections were installed with billing started to 1,402 with initiation of 40.717MW.
In Faisalabad Electric Supply Company (Fesco), the authorities received total 2,614 applications (2,286 below 25kW and 328 over 25kW) for generation of 56.681MW (56,681 kW). Here total 2,195 connections were installed and billing started to 1,856 connections having cumulative generation of 44.604MW (44,604kW).
Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) received total 6,398 applications (79.653 MW/79653kW) including 6,163 and 235 of below and over 25kW respectively. As many as 6,078 connections were installed and billing started to 5,377 having total generation of 72.570MW (72,570kW).
Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) got 4,232 applications having cumulative generation of 104.358MW (104,358kW) that included 3,756 and 474 of below and over 25kW respectively. As many as 3,844 connections were installed after which billing started to 3,463 having generation of 77.737MW (77,737kW).
In the areas of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), total 1,847 applications (1744 and 103 of below and over 25kW) seeking a cumulative power generation of 27.640 MW (27,640kW) were received out of which 1,847 connections were installed with billing initiated to 1,463 applicants generating 26.304MW (26,304kW).
On the other hand, the response to the net-metering project remained lukewarm in the areas of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco), Sukkur Electric Supply Company (Sepco), Quetta Electric Supply Company (Qesco) and the Tribal Area Electric Supply Company (Tesco). The consumers in the areas of the aforementioned companies made a generation of 2.673MW, 3.768MW, 1.021MW and 500kW, respectively.
By S. Arif Kazmi Karachi
I was aware of the other options, like off-grid and hybrid systems. In both these cases, one would need to buy a different type of inverter plus batteries. The system I chose, on-grid with net-metering, did not require any batteries. Whatever power our solar panels produce would directly be sent through the inverter to the K-Electric (KE) grid and whatever we use would come to us from the grid directly as before installation of the solar panels.
The only difference now is that instead of the old meter, we now have a bidirectional smart meter which keeps track of units sent from our panels to the grid and units taken by our appliances; hence the name net-metering.
There was one little detail to which I did not pay enough attention. When there is loadshedding done by KE, or the system shuts down for any reason, we would need some type of backup, like a UPS unit or a generator. At the time when I was signing up for the on-grid net-metering deal, there were hardly any period of loadshedding or power breakdown, and going for a hybrid system would add considerable additional cost of batteries which would need periodic replacements as well.
Now when the KE has started resorting to frequent and extensive loadshedding, there is another concern to pay attention to. During loadshedding, there is no power being exported to the grid. Our panels are producing electricity, but it is neither being stored nor exported.
If we had chosen a hybrid system, the power produced by our panels would be stored by the battery pack, and used for household consumption any time of the day or night. As things stand, if there is a four-hour day-time loadshedding, we are losing about Rs100 per day.
So, if you are thinking of getting solar panels, go with a hybrid system if you can afford the extra cost of batteries. I am not sure about the cost difference between an inverter and a hybrid inverter which would have connectivity to the battery pack as well to the grid plus a smart switch which would guide the current either way.
While I am at it, let me point out that KE is not following the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) rules of payment to customers who are giving more units to KE than what they are getting from it. Also, there is a difference in the rates at which KE buys from us and the rate at which they pay us for the units supplied.
The difference between selling and buying rates is quite huge, and the rate at which KE sells power would keep on increasing, while the rate at which it buys from us is frozen. The gap keeps widening, which, to say the least, is unfair.
Bilal I Gilani
During July-Mar FY2022, a total of 10,783 net metering based systems of 196.77 MW
capacity were installed by different segments of consumers. As of 31st December, 2021, net-metering based solar installations had reached up to 17,950 with a
cumulative capacity of 305.79 MW.
As many as 3,521 applications for Net-Metering are currently pending in all power distribution companies (DISCOs).
These applications were pending in various distribution companies including Islamabad Electric Supply Company, Lahore Electric Supply Company, Multan Electric Supply Company, Gujranwala Electric Supply Company, Sukkur and Hyderabad Electric Supply companies and Peshawar Electric Supply Company.
According to official of Power Division, all net metering applications are being facilitated as per National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA’s) regulations and Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) guidelines which are already included in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of DISCOs.
Power Division has also issued instructions to all DISCOs for timely processing of Net-Metering applications. Net metering connections are installed within the specified time period and no such delays or hurdles are created by DISCO.
A dedicated team of Market Implementation & Regulatory Affairs Department (MIRAD)/ concerned Superintending Engineer are closely monitoring the whole process of net metering connections in all DISCOs for timely execution. He said in order to facilitate consumers, DISCOs have allowed for self-purchase of Bi-Directional energy meters for net metering from approved manufactures. NNI
The decision was taken at a meeting between Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh and a delegation of the World Bank headed by its director Najy Benhassine at the energy department.
Mr Shaikh told Dawn that the panels would be installed in all districts of the province under the Sindh Solar Project.
“Over 200,000 houses/units will be solarised in both rural and urban areas of all districts as part of the provincial government’s major initiative to end the energy crisis,” he said.
The minister said that it was also decided that a subsidy of $160 per house/unit in rural areas and $110 in urban areas would be given.
“Initially. solar panels are being installed in 10 districts and the process will be extended to all other districts of Sindh,” he said.
The minister said the World Band delegation expressed its satisfaction over the pace of ongoing projects in the province’s energy sector.
He said the importance of generating green environment-friendly energy was increasing rapidly in view of climate-change impacts.
There were many opportunities for blue economy in this sector, he said. “The speed of wind in the sea is many times better than on land, so wind turbines can be installed on the sea and beaches to generate cheaper electricity,” he said.
Imtiaz Shaikh said that an economic zone could be established in coastal area, which would be an important milestone in the development of the coastal area. “The energy department will cooperate in developing offshore wind projects near coastal areas,” he said, and added that floating solar energy units would be created for economic development of the country.
He said that the energy department wanted to work with the Pakistan Institute of Oceanography to develop floating solar projects in coastal areas.
“Floating solar systems and offshore wind projects can expand blue economy opportunities through affordable energy,” he added.
The minister said that land for water-based green energy projects was several times cheaper and unlike most land-based solar plants there, floating arrays could be stationary.
To a question, he said that the provincial government had also decided to restructure the proposed Sindh Petroleum Company which would work for gas exploration.
He said that the SPC would give licences for gas and petrol exploration in the province, adding that a draft of recommendations regarding activation of the SPC and its rules and regulations had been prepared.
He said that the SPC along with the search for new gas reserves would also monitor the distribution of existing gas reserves.
Imtiaz Shaikh demanded a new natural resources agreement between the federation and the provinces and said that the new gas distribution agreement would help curb the sense of deprivation found in the provinces.
Amid fierce public opposition, Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has decided not to proceed with proposed amendments to its 2015 net-metering regulations. Nepra originally planned to reduce the tariff paid to net-metered households from PKR 19.32 ($0.072)/kWh to PKR 9/kWh.
Nepra says it will not move ahead with its draft amendments to Pakistan’s 2015 regulations for distributed generation and net metering.
In September 2022, the regulator proposed replacing the current national average power purchase price of PKR 19.32/kWh with the national average energy purchase price of PKR 9/kWh for net-metered households that inject excess electricity into the grid. The measure would have affected 20,700 households.
After public consultation, the public and consumers “strongly opposed the proposed amendments, citing reasons that electricity through net metering is one of the most efficient methods and the proposed amendment in the regulations would discourage net metering/solar installation,” Nepra said in an official statement about its decision to reverse the proposed amendments.
In the same statement, Nepra argued that electricity generated through rooftop solar should be mainly for self-consumption and “not for commercial sale.” However, it conceded that electricity from net-metered households represents less than 1% of the national distributor’s electricity purchases.
“The economic benefits of net metering in terms of displacement of costlier electricity, savings of foreign exchange and incurring minimal losses, cannot be ignored,” it added.
In September, Afia Malik, a senior research economist for the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), told pv magazine that she expects just 23 MW of excess electricity to be exported into the grid by the affected net-metered households.
UK coal and gold mining projects developer Oracle Power PLC (LON:ORCP) and Power Construction Corporation of China (SHA:601669), also known as PowerChina, have agreed to partner in the potential joint development of a 1-GW solar project in the desert of southeastern Pakistan.
The Thar Solar Project will be based on the unutilised land at Oracle's Thar Block VI coalfield in the Sindh Province, which is located about 250 kilometres (155.3 miles) from the proposed site of the company’s green hydrogen project in the region.
The facility is expected to be equipped with about 1.5 million photovoltaic (PV) panels, providing an installed capacity of 655 watts per panel and generating about 1.7 billion kWh annually, a statement said on Wednesday.
Oracle has already obtained conditional permission from the local Sindh government to build solar plants at its 66.1-square-kilometre Thar Block VI.
The power to be produced from the solar plant could be injected into the national grid or sold to the grid of a private distributor. It could also be utilised to reduce the carbon footprint at other coalfields within the Thar Coal Power Project.
Under the cooperation agreement, the Chinese partner will help Oracle study the feasibility of the project and coordinate work with the government of China. The UK-based firm, in turn, will work on securing the funding of the project and also coordinate ongoing negotiations with the governments of Sindh and Pakistan.
“We look forward to working closely with our partners to swiftly establish ourselves as front runners in the production of renewable power and green energy solutions in Pakistan and in the broader region,” Oracle’s CEO Naheed Memon said in the statement.
The UK-based firm, which is focused on Western Australia and Pakistan, is also working on a 1.2-GW solar, wind and green hydrogen project in Sindh.
LAHORE-Unilever Pakistan has announced its partnership with K-Solar, a subsidiary of KE, to transition its operations to solar energy in Rahim Yar Khan and Karachi. This initiative represents a significant step towards achieving Unilever’s ambitious sustainability goals, including net zero emissions in its operations by 2039. Simultaneously, the firm will shed close to PKR 84 million a year in energy costs, facilitating the local economy by considerably reducing the strain on the national grid collectively generating approx. 2.3 million Kwh through renewable sources.
Unilever Pakistan’s Solar Captive Power Plant Phase 2 installation demonstrates their dedication to renewable energy solutions, leading to significant savings and CO2 reductions. At Futehally Chemicals Limited (FCL), the factory that manufactures Surf Excel for Unilever, the 362 kW system will save 496,035 kWh annually, reducing costs by approximately 18 million PKR and CO2 emissions by 233 metric tons. The 1000 kW installation at Rahim Yar Khan Factory will save 1,430,886 kWh, saving approximately 53 million PKR and a CO2 reduction of 662 metric tons per year. The 250 kW system at Rahim Yar Khan Estate will save 357,721 kWh, resulting in cost savings of 13 million PKR and a CO2 reduction of 165 metric tons annually. Unilever Pakistan’s investment in these projects reinforces their commitment to sustainability.
While Unilever’s own factories, offices, research labs, data centers, warehouses, and distribution centers account for only 2% of its total greenhouse gas footprint, the company acknowledges the significance of these emissions and is committed to eliminating them entirely. Abdul Hannan Ahmed Khan, Head of Supply Chain at Unilever Pakistan, expressed his enthusiasm for this collaboration, stating, “Unilever Pakistan is deeply committed to sustainable practices and minimizing our impact on the environment. This solar project is a testament to our dedication to combat climate change and create a brighter, cleaner future. By investing in renewable energy, we are not only reducing our carbon emissions but also driving positive change in the communities we operate in.”
Hashim Raza, CEO of K-Solar, emphasized the significance of joint efforts in realizing a sustainable energy future. He stated, “We are thrilled to partner with Unilever Pakistan on this journey. By combining Unilever’s leadership in sustainability and K-Solar’s expertise in renewable energy solutions, we are confident that we can make a substantial impact in reducing carbon emissions and promoting the use of clean energy sources.”
19-kilowatt mini-grids powered by solar energy installed in Ishaq Jokoi
Indus Earth Trust (IET), an organisation promoting green energy, has provided a life-changing solution for residents of Ishaq Jokio, a small settlement in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
The 19-kilowatt mini-grids powered by solar energy have transformed the lives of people, who have been accustomed to enduring long hours of power cuts during peak consumption in summer.
“Villages were selected according to a needs assessment survey, while the villagers provided the land where the 19-kilowatt mini-grids were installed. In this hamlet caressed by the sea breeze from the Arabian Sea, panels bred prosperity,” reported the China Economic Net.
According to the State of Industry reports from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), homes consume 50% of the total electricity delivered, and this demand is largely driven by cooling and lighting. The demand is estimated to increase from 106 terawatt-hour (TWh) in 2020 to 234 TWh in 2030, representing a 121% increase due to the rise in temperatures from climate change.
Pakistan’s energy problems have been exacerbated manifold by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the global supply crisis. Pakistan’s fuel import bill surged to $23 billion in FY2021-22, a 105% increase from the previous financial year. The country’s per capita annual electricity consumption of 644 kilowatt-hour (kWh) is among the lowest in the world, which is only 18% of the world average, 7% of the developed countries’ average.
However, Pakistan’s efforts to embrace photovoltaics at all levels have started to pay off. Pakistan imported about $1.2 billion in photovoltaic modules in the last fiscal year, and in 2022, China’s photovoltaic module exports to Pakistan reached approximately $870 million, with a total installed capacity of 3.2GW, a year-on-year increase of 54% and 37%, respectively, said Liu Yiyang, Deputy Secretary-General and Press Spokesperson of China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA). The Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) forecasted that the country’s import demand for photovoltaic products this year will be around $1.8 billion.
“Pakistan’s Solar Energy Market is expected to record a CAGR of 2.5% during the period from 2022 to 2027, with Net Metering-Based Solar Installations and Power Generation growing by 102% and 108% respectively,” said a KTrade Securities analyst.
A World Bank study in 2020 urged Pakistan to urgently expand solar and wind “to at least 30% of electricity generation capacity by 2030, equivalent to around 24,000 MW.” This provides huge opportunities for growth as currently, as of December 2022, Pakistan’s total domestic installed power capacity is 43,775 MW, of which photovoltaic installed capacity is 630 MW, accounting for about 1.4% only.
China’s efforts are also reaching millions of households in remote areas in the form of micro-power plants. Out of the $144 million foreign investment in PV plants in Pakistan, $125 million is from China, accounting for nearly 87% of the total.
“Pakistan and China are a perfect match for collaboration on renewable energy (solar PV) as China is a globally known giant when it comes to renewable energy technology, while Pakistan needs to move away from thermal to renewable for power generation,” stated a KTrade Securities solar PV industry report.
Recently, the Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) sent an official letter adjuring the federal government to ask SBP and other commercial banks to help in the solar imports through an annual limit of USD 800 million at a time when Pakistan is facing a renewable energy sector that is growing rapidly. The letter also urged the government to take steps to promote local manufacturing of solar panels to reduce reliance on imports and create job opportunities for the local population.