Pakistan has approved rules for allowing owners of solar panels to sell power across the country. They make to energy grid of country and will be used to convert thousands of water pumps in southwestern Balochistan to solar power.
Alternative Energy Development Board of Pakistan said solar panels owners throughout Pakistan can take part in net metering, a billing mechanism that credits solar panel owners for the electricity they contribute to the country’s power-short grid for the first time.
Sardar Awais Ahmed Leghari, board’s chair, said the expansion of net metering and simplification of the approval process would encourage more consumers to install solar panels that could boost generation of green energy in the country by 5,000 to 7,000 megawatts potentially.
Now 150 solar installations at Islamabad’s Parliament House are adding 4 MW of power to the grid through net metering.
The board hopes to extend net metering will add 1,000 MW of solar power by 2021 and 4,500 MW by 2025. Solar installers say they hope the shift will lead to a surge in business.
Right now, most people with solar panels use the energy for power and to charge a battery that provides power at night, though the system is not highly efficient, Iqbal said in an interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The new rules ease the previously complicated process for owners of smaller solar installations to connect to the grid.
Rehman Maqbool, a former National Transmission and Dispatch Company official, said the change made sense as “the previous rules were lengthy and cumbersome”.
Net metering will “help in increasing generation capacity, reducing fuel import bills, decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases, and strengthening the national grid,” Maqbool said in an interview.
The Alternative Energy Development Board also announced a public awareness campaign to encourage as many people as possible to take part in the new solar buy-back plan.
It also approved a plan to convert all grid-powered water pumps in Balochistan province to solar power.
More than 30,000 electric water pumps, using more than 480 MW of power, run in Balochistan province to provide water for irrigation. The government pays more than 21 billion rupees ($325 million) a year to subsidize the operation of the fossil-fuel-powered pumps.
In the first phase of the project, expected to run through next year, solar power to run 10,000 of the pumps, the board said.