PCJCCI urged government to invest in Solar PV projects
A Chinese delegation discussed the importance and need for advancement in solar projects with office-bearers of Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) here at the joint chamber’s Secretariat on Monday. PCJCCI President Mozzam Ghurki said that currently, out of $144 million foreign investment in solar PV plants in Pakistan, $125 million was from China, accounting for nearly 87 percent of the total investment. Among the 530MW cumulative generation capacity in Pakistan, 400MW (75 percent) was generated from Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park, the first-ever power plant capable of generating solar energy in Pakistan, owned by the Punjab government, and built by a renowned Chinese company. Chinese companies were also major suppliers to many PV projects in Pakistan such as Mini Solar grids in KP and ADB Access to Clean Energy Programme. He added that Pakistan solar energy market was expected to record a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 2.5 percent from 2022 to 2027. One of the representatives of delegation said that until now, the average utilisation rate of the operational solar PV plants was merely 19 percent, far from the over 95 percent utilisation rate in China, representing huge opportunities to be tapped.
As experienced PV plants investors in Pakistan, Chinese companies were more likely to further leverage their learning in the solar industry.
They could also benefit from China’s pledge to move away from coal-based energy generation and promote green energy in developing countries. She added that Chinese companies expected a supportive government attitude to investment in solar PV plants in Pakistan and the cooperation would complement both countries’ commitment to the socio-economic development of the whole region.
The PCJCCI president said that in Pakistan, the insufficiency of power which led to surging electricity tariffs and foreign exchange expenditure on imported energy was aggravating the necessity for the country to be more self-sufficient in power generation. If solar was installed on every roof, those who suffer from heat and load-shedding could generate their own electricity at least all day, and if some surplus electricity was generated, they could sell it to the grid.
PCJCCI Secretary General Salahuddin Hanif said that according to the World Bank, Pakistan required only 0.071 percent of its total land area (mainly in Balochistan) to achieve the benefits of solar power. If this potential was utilised, he said, all of Pakistan’s current energy needs could be met with solar power alone.
As a renewable energy source without fuel requirements, Solar PV was significantly cost-effective when compared to imported energy, RLNG, and gas. He further said that by investing in such projects, it was expected that the reliance on solar energy would increase to 13 per cent and the reliance on imported coal and RLNG was expected to decrease to 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively.