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Plan to install 1.8MW solar energy plant in Parliament House

As part of a plan to introduce solar energy panels and plants in the public sector buildings the government has planned to install 1.8 MW Solar Energy Plant in the Parliament House that according to initial estimate may cost Rs660 million, the sources said here on Friday.

The sources said payment of almost Rs100 million to clear electricity and gas bills in last fiscal year has finally forced the management to install the Solar Energy Plant with complete battery back up in the Parliament House with the help of one of those foreign companies that have already shown their interest in the solar energy sector in Pakistan.

“Payment of huge electricity bills has become a financial burden on the National Assembly Secretariat that is now left with no other option except to look for an alternative and installation of solar energy plant is the best choice in the current scenario,” an official said.

The official record showed that the Parliament House was included in the list of 300 power defaulters compiled recently by the Ministry of Water and Power and notice was also served in this respect stating if the power bills were not paid then electricity connection would be cut off in line with the existing rules and procedures.

The government sources said installation of the solar energy plant at the Parliament House would be a part of a comprehensive plan that would focus on introducing solar energy system in the VIP and government buildings not only to avoid electricity bills but also minimize power usage in the face of increasing energy crisis in the country.

The official said initially there was a plan to replace water heating system, garden lights, and some internal wiring of the Parliament House with solar powered system but later it was decided in principle to install the solar energy plant for permanent solution to this problem.

It is pertinent to mention here that the solar panels and other equipment, which transforms solar energy into electric energy have been exempted from the customs duty and the government has planned to encourage and enhance use of solar energy in the institutions working both in the public and private sector.

The official record showed that with the cost of Rs0.15m a solar panel has been installed in the Supreme Court building with the capacity of 2 kilowatts while the Barri Imam Shrine has also a solar system that is working efficiently to cope with the electricity demand. Capital Development Authority (CDA) also installed the solar penal for the streetlights throughout the Blue Area from the Parade Ground to Khyber Plaza.

CDA has allocated funds amounting to Rs20 million in its budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 to shift streetlights on the solar energy. The water supply is mainly affected by loadshedding so CDA has also planned to shift all tubewells on the solar energy to ensure uninterrupted supply of 55 million gallons of water to the residents of the capital city.

The Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technologies (Pcret) has announced that solar panels have been designed to upgrade facilities to produce 80KW Photovoltaic modules per year that can illuminate houses and buildings in the rural and urban areas of the country.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told this correspondent the National Energy Policy 2013, the first consensus-based document of its kind, has clearly outlined the objectives to transform Pakistan from being an energy-starved country to being self-sufficient in terms of energy and launch of solar energy projects would greatly help serve this purpose.

He said: “We are working day and night to shift the energy mix towards cheaper sources as the present energy mix, where power generation relies on diesel and furnace oil, is proving costly.”

Abid Sher Ali said the government would install solar energy panels and plants in the public sector buildings and work on some of the projects is already under way and there are many more pro-jects that are currently at the initial stage.

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