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Pakistan needs to tap alternative energy resources

Pakistan needs to tap alternative energy resources such as solar and wind keeping in view the increased demand for power and the energy crisis, Daniyal Rasheed, an engineer at Invertex Power Solutions, said.

People have started opting alternative renewable energy for their homes and businesses, he said.

Import duty and taxes on photovoltaic systems (PV system), which uses solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity have been removed, thus, the price of PV modules per megawatt has come down by 60 percent since last year, he said, adding that all the panels and its accessories are being imported from China.

Rasheed said: “Small, single PV-panel systems, inverters with Battery that produce around 90 watts may cost around Rs40,000 for installation, or Rs70 per watt. This package includes one ceiling fan and pedestal fan with two light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs of three watts that consumes less electricity.

He said that the PV systems have the capacity to produce one kilowatts to one megawatts.

The cost depends upon the requirement of the individual, Rasheed said, adding that if a person wants to run all appliances in a household the system can cost Rs300,000 to Rs600,000. It is a one-time investment once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever, he added.

Unlike carbon-based fuels, wind, sun and the earth provide free fuel, in amounts that are effectively limitless. The PV panels have 10 years warranty and have a life of 25 years, he said, adding that the PV system requires up to eight hours of sunlight in order to charge the battery.

Rasheed said that in the recent past the demand for the PV system has increased in Punjab, upper Sindh and some parts of Balochistan; however, the demand is not so high in Karachi.

Most of the tube-wells and streetlights are being converted on solar energy and the people are also opting to install solar panels for their shops, as well.

A two kilowatts system may cost Rs500,000 and will run 24 hours. At the high end, a five kilowatts system that will completely offset the energy needs of many conventional homes may cost Rs.1,500,000, Daniyal added.

Another dealer said that the demand is rising and the people are substituting their UPS with small PV systems, which can run three bulbs and three fans.

There are even better inverters like 2KW/3KW hybrid inverters and inverters with dry batteries, which are little costlier but are more efficient, the dealer said.

An expert on alternative energy said that the installation of a small PV cell power plant of 10MW capacity would require a total of 100,000 PV panels of 100 watts each for which the required total area of PV panels would be about a quarter of a square kilometre and this can help curtail power outages to specific localities.

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