Usefulness of solar energy in Pakistan

A path out of the power crisis

Pakistan is a paramount target for solar energy as it has numerous cities with extreme hot temperatures, which allow highest penetration of sunlight. Solar energy in Pakistan is deemed to be an alternative source of energy for economic prosperity. Solar energy is an abundant resource in Pakistan, which is useful for generation of electricity. It aids in electricity generation without harming the environment. Electricity generation by the use of solar power contributes to no greenhouse gas effects, or carbon emissions. The degree of climate change is decreased and environmental protection is ensured.

Solar energy in Pakistan has a positive impact for the residential areas, and the corporations. The dwellers of several residential societies enjoy cost savings in their electricity’s utility bills by accessing the solar panels. The residents are able to power their electronic appliances using the solar panels, which reduces the shortfall of electricity in the country.  Though the installation cost is high, and any roof damage from installation of solar panels can lead to leakages; the benefits of cost-savings and generation of clean energy to power the homes are enormous.

The domestic residents are able to access the solar energy by the installation of the photovoltaic panels on their rooftops. The solar power cells used on the photovoltaic panels consist of the positive or the negative field. These consist of the photons, and the silicon absorbs photons. Once the photons become free as electrons, they pass through the electric wires as electricity to power the appliances.

The industrial sector of Pakistan can rely on the usage of the solar panels for generating heat for several industrial purposes such as production, and processing of chemicals, minerals and foods, oil recovery and processing of minerals. Owing to the problem of shortfall of electricity especially during the summers, the solar panels can aid in improving the energy access for the industries. It can lead towards enhanced production and employment opportunities for the individuals. It can further strengthen the economy by raising the per capita income, and accelerate the export potential, thereby improving the trade balance.

The present government has launched a comprehensive National Solar Policy for provision of environmentally friendly low-cost solar energy to address the nation’s energy crisis. All these initiatives must be pursued with sheer consistency, determination and hard efforts to tap the best usage of solar power in the country. The facility of net metering should be extensively provided to the consumers in the country for availing the green way of electricity generation. This is deemed to be important in making the country self-reliant in the field of energy so that the issues of power theft, circular debt and distribution losses are minimized.

The solar energy is useful in different industrial operations whereby the solar energy heats oil. The oil is used to produce steam, and the steam operates the machinery, mechanical cycles and the turbines for production of electricity. It further powers the machinery to be directed for industrial purposes. Though the solar panels used in the industries reduce the electricity bills, the cost of production using the solar panels in the industries is high, and its installation is time-consuming. Solar energy equipment is usually imported from China, which is costly. It does not offer after-sales services of warranties or guarantees due to the fact that the Chinese solar companies do not have a local presence.

Nonetheless, there exists massive potential for implementation of solar energy in Pakistan as for nearly 10 hours each day, the average solar radiation intensity ranges from 1500 watts per square meter to 2750 watts per square meter. This is particularly predominant in areas of southern Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan across the year. Nearly 45 to 83 megawatts of power each month can be generated in the regions specified above. The above-mentioned benefits generated from the generation of the solar energy for the domestic, and the industrial consumers prompt the wide-scale implementation of the solar panels in Pakistan. There is a dire need to seek maximum technical assistance from the government authorities to overcome the technical issues relevant to the implementation of solar energy.

Pakistani governments to date have commissioned six solar power projects with a cumulative capacity of 430 MW to supply electricity to the national grid. These are mainly in Kashmir, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. The Quaid-e-Azam solar park situated in the desert area of Lal Sohanra in Cholistan, Bahawalpur has one of the largest solar plants in the country with a capacity of 100 MW peak in a covered area of 500 acres.

The present government has launched a comprehensive National Solar Policy for provision of environmentally friendly low-cost solar energy to address the nation’s energy crisis. All these initiatives must be pursued with sheer consistency, determination and hard efforts to tap the best usage of solar power in the country. The facility of net metering should be extensively provided to the consumers in the country for availing the green way of electricity generation. This is deemed to be important in making the country self-reliant in the field of energy so that the issues of power theft, circular debt and distribution losses are minimized.

Aiyza Javaid
Aiyza Javaid
Aiyza Javaid is a graduate of FAST-NU. She is a freelance writer, a regular writer in newspapers and is a teacher. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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