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AEDB initiates study for introducing solar water heaters

The Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) on Friday signed an agreement with a foreign firm having representation in Pakistan to undertake a two-phased study for the introduction of solar water heaters in the country with the World Bank’s support.

The overall objective and purpose of the study is to develop a national program to replace conventional gas geysers with solar water heaters (SWH) by identifying the potential areas for the intervention with minimum stakeholder involvement and to determine technical, financial, economic and social viability of the intervention under different implementation models.

The study also includes the pilot testing of the program through practical demonstration of the models in different areas and regions.

It will also review the existing technology and identify the most appropriate technology to be adopted for consumers in Pakistan including the assessment of the local market potential and capacity.

The study is designed to be implemented in two phases i.e. the design phase and the pilot phase.

This study has been awarded to M/s Electra Consultants with M/s Integration Environment & Energy of Germany after being shortlisted as per the set procedures and with the prior approval of the World Bank.

CEO AEDB Arif Alauddin told The News that the government was taking all possible steps to introduce alternative / renewable energy (ARE) technologies in order to reduce reliance on conventional energy sources.

“The world is moving fast to adopt these emerging technologies, but the government is adamant to catch up with the countries ahead in ARE sectors,” he added.

He maintained that the government has already exempted solar water heaters from customs duty and sales tax as a result over 12,000 SWHs have been imported.

According to him, these heaters are deployed all over the country, especially in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Northern Punjab.

Some Pakistani companies are also manufacturing SWHs locally, and more are in the pipeline for local manufacturing.

“Alternative energy resources are no more considered as alternative to the conventional resources but are now being seen as the main energy resources for the future,” Alauddin said.

“Sooner we adopt and promote them better it would be for the country to cover up its existing and future energy demands,” he observed.

The CEO of AEDB said that the board has been supporting private and public sectors, especially provincial governments, for on grid and off grid applications of solar energy.

The AEDB has been working on standardisation of documents relating to solar power projects, which would help reduce timeline periods required for project implementation.

So far on grid projects with a capacity of over 250 MW are at various stages of development.

Under the Solar Village Electrification Program, 3,000 solar home systems have been installed in 49 villages of District Tharparkar, Sindh.

Another 51 villages in Sindh and 300 villages in Balochistan have been approved for electrification using solar energy and the same will be implemented following release of funds.

Under the Parliamentarian Sponsored Village Electrification Programme, 32 feasibilities have been prepared and submitted for approval and release of funds. Funds for three schemes have so far been released under PWP-II and the schemes are being implemented.

Arif Alauddin disclosed that during the last few years, the government allowed duty free import of a large number of solar panels and solar modules to private sector companies for the installation and generation of over 25MW of energy.

The AEDB has also been helping installation of solar water pumping systems in the country and so far around 800 systems have been installed mostly for drinking and agriculture projects for communities all over the country.

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