Pakistan gets access to high-quality solar energy maps

Published: March 7, 2017


ISLAMABAD: The World Bank, in partnership with the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), on Tuesday launched a series of new solar maps for Pakistan in support of efforts to increase the deployment of renewable energy in the country.

This will help in expanding access to sustainable and affordable sources of indigenous energy in the country.

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With these efforts, Pakistan becomes the first country to benefit from validated solar maps under a global initiative on renewable energy resource mapping, led by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme – a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank.

“Pakistan joins a small group of mainly developed countries, having access to duly validated and high-quality solar energy maps available for planning and prospecting purposes,” the World Bank said in a statement. “This initiative will facilitate investors in making more informed project decisions.”

The World Bank project on solar mapping in Pakistan includes field data, which is being generated by nine solar measurement stations installed two years ago throughout the country.

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The project supports AEDB’s efforts to harness renewable energy in all the provinces by improving access to bankable data.

The solar maps used the latest solar resource-modelling techniques, based on 18 years of satellite and global atmospheric data from 1999-2016.

“These new solar maps will definitely ensure qualified improvement vis-a-vis previous studies and will underscore the tremendous solar potential that exists across Pakistan,” said Amjad Ali Awan, Chief Executive Officer of AEDB.

The solar maps were unveiled at a workshop hosted by AEDB and the World Bank in Islamabad, which was attended by a cross-section of stakeholders.

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In addition to presenting and discussing the new maps, participants learned about the ground-based measurement campaign and discussed various options for continued operation of the nine solar measurement stations installed at diverse locations in Pakistan.

The maps will help large solar power projects in obtaining commercial financing by reducing the resource risk.

The solar maps, and the underlying solar data, can be accessed for free via the Global Solar Atlas, a recently-launched tool provided by the World Bank Group and covering all countries.

In addition, the maps are available in digital format for use in Geographic Information System (GIS) applications and Google Earth.


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Reader Comments (2)

  • Raj - USA
    Mar 7, 2017 - 8:43PM

    Baluchistan is the solar and wind belt in the region. If Baluchistan’s potentials on these are used fully, this region alone can generate more than two times the energy requirements of entire Pakistan. Similarly, Gujarat in India is a wind and solar belt with huge potentials. There are other such belts in India too, such as Andhra Pradesh and south west of India.

    Solar energy produces electricity from dawn to dusk. Wind energy is most efficient from 2-3 hours before dawn, tapers off during the day and becomes efficient again for 2-3 yours after dusk. Wind energy is efficient when solar energy generation is not at its peak. Solar and wind together extends the electricity generation time in a day by 4-6 house more, reducing the requirement for storage batteries and feeding more to the grid for extended hours. Chinese have made good progress in solar energy by bringing down the costs of solar panels, but their wind mills are very inefficient and they are far behind Europe in this. Also, a lot of electronics goes in the solar systems, such as inverters, etc., in which Chinese components are of very poor quality and they only last for much less time and also lack efficiency when compared to products from Europe or USA. This results in increase in overall costs. Solar power projects also have huge scope for fraud. Reports from Pakistan’s own agencies are that the 100 MW solar plant installed by Chinese in Pakistan is actually producing just 13 MW electricity.

    Few years ago, I read an interesting news on India. In Gujarat some big group (I think it was the Ambhanis) purchased a huge alphaso mango farm. They found that the yield of mangoes was very low because that farm was in a wind belt and because of the wind the flowers were dropping from the trees and not growing up to mangos. They also wanted the farm to have its own electricity and installed wind mills before the farm. After this, they not only were generating electricity but also noticed that the mango yield had gone up significantly. The wind mills were acting as barriers, slowing the speed of wind and as a result of which, mango trees were able to retain more flowers resulting in increased yield. Recommend

  • SNKN
    Mar 7, 2017 - 9:37PM

    Raj, interesting informationRecommend

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