Pakistan is to construct an extremely large solar energy park in the desert in an attempt to address the country’s persistent power shortages.
The new solar power scheme is in progress with the government saying the QuaideAzam Solar Energy Park near Bahawalpur ‘will benefit the entire Punjab province.’
The bleak area is currently being revolutionized and the Punjab government has invested £3 million installing primary infrastructure for the new solar energy park, which it anticipates will develop into the largest of its kind in the world!
Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration said:
“In phase one, a pilot project producing 100MW of electricity will hopefully be completed by the end of this year. After completion of the first 100MW project, the government will invite investors to invest here for the 1,000 megawatts.
“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come.Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical.”
Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, said that the project would bring an investment of more than 200 billion Pakistani rupees (£1.2 billion) to the region.
Pakistan has endured electricity shortages for years causing homes throughout the country without power for up to 18 hours a day.
A World Bank report indicicates that about 44 per cent of Pakistan’s homes are not connected to the grid.
Temperatures in central Pakistan can reach 50 degrees Celsius in the course of the summer months, driving the need for electricity increasingly high and leaving a shortfall of around 4,000MW.
The initial cost of £36.5 million was awarded by the Chinese government as a goodwill gesture and it is predicted that £600,000 each year will be saved in energy costs.