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Energy conservation: Chinese firm installing 100 solar-powered lights

A Chinese company is to install 100 solar-powered streetlights on Wahdat Road and Allama Iqbal Town’s Main Boulevard over the next 10 days, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The Punjab government and Chinese government signed a memorandum of understanding for the installation of the solar-powered LED lights and the work is being done for free, officials said.

Workers began installing the streetlights in Iqbal Town six days ago and several have been set up. Eighty lights are to be installed in Iqbal Town and 20 on Wahdat Road.

The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Steering Committee of the Punjab government had already been considering a project to convert all the city’s streetlights to LED bulbs (not powered by solar energy), said District Officer (Street Lighting) Abdul Qayyum Niazi.

He said that the Planning and Development Department and National Engineering Services of Pakistan (Nespak) would study the project and look at the viability of converting other streetlights in the city in a project executed in PPP mode.

He said that the Chinese company was “hopefully” installing 60-volt LED lights. The streetlights currently in use require 250V.

Asked about the cost per streetlight, Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning (Tepa) Chief Engineer Saeed Akhtar said that he could not say because the Chinese company was installing them for free and had not revealed the cost. He said that this project would not gain the company any favour when and if the government should decide to invite bids for the conversion of streetlights in the rest of the city.

The contract would be awarded strictly on merit and in accordance with procurement rules, he said.

The National Highway Authority has previously installed solar lights at a number of places, as has the Gujranwala district government.

The Lahore city traffic police and Tepa had earlier this year been seeking investors to convert several traffic signals here to run on solar power, but only two have been installed, at Faisal Chowk and at Garden Town.

Akhtar said that they would look for more investors, but no further conversions were currently in process.

The PPP Steering Committee had in March decided to invite bids for the installation of LED streetlights all over Lahore, since the old sodium lights consume 120 per cent more energy than LEDs. K&N International Islamabad, a private company, placed an unsolicited bid to the city government to replace the streetlights.

Bids will be invited through official channels, said an official. Should a company placing a solicited bid match the offer from K&N International, the former’s bid would be accepted, he said. The government would pay the successful bidder over the next 10 years from the money it saves in electricity consumption, he added.

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