Pakistan has ‘2.9 million MW solar energy potential’

Published: March 17, 2017
An electronic, solar-powered rickshaw Rick-E is on display. PHOTO: EXPRESS

An electronic, solar-powered rickshaw Rick-E is on display. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: A three-day exhibition aimed at bringing together key players and decision-makers in the energy sector on one platform kicked off at the International Expo Centre on Thursday.

SOLAR Pakistan 2017 – the sixth international renewable energy exhibition and conference – showcases technologies and innovative services in the renewable energy generation, distribution and storage sectors.

More than 100 exhibitors from 15 countries will showcase latest energy products and services, providing the visitors with an opportunity to network with industry professionals, get up to date with industry developments, make new business contacts and find potential suppliers, according to the event manager, FAKT Exhibitions’ Khawaja Wahaj.

With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation. According to studies, Pakistan has 2.9 million megawatts of solar energy potential besides photovoltaic opportunities.

According to figures provided by FAKT, Pakistan spends about US$ 12 billion annually on the import of crude oil. Of this, 70% oil is used in generating power, which currently costs us Rs18 per unit. Shifting to solar energy can help reduce electricity costs down to Rs 6-8 per unit.

Wahaj said SOLAR Pakistan would focus on decentralised technologies of renewable energy generation, providing an opportunity to highlight the importance of renewable energy sources and how switching to renewable energy sources can benefit and is expected to bring massive investment in Pakistan’s energy sector.

Among several eye-catching and innovative solar technologies on display at the exhibition, one such product is Rick-E, an electronic, solar-powered rickshaw, developed by WRL technologies – a sales and distribution company based in the US and Dubai.

Mehtab Chaudhry, an engineer at the company, told The Express Tribune the noise- and pollution-free Rick-E can run at a maximum speed of 60kmh while its full charge lasts up to 150km, takes 16 to 30 seconds to charge up and is operable in knee-high water.

Chaudhry said the company had also developed a retrofitted kit, which could be installed in other rickshaws and one battery could last up to 45 years. The prices have not been finalised yet, however, one unit is expected to cost around Rs300,000.

She said the company was looking forward to finalising a contract with the Lahore Transport Company in order to bring the rickshaw to the masses.

Another exhibit by researchers from the National University of Science and Technology and the University of Engineering and Technology consisted of researchers showcasing USAID-funded projects aimed at finding innovative and practical solutions for Pakistan’s energy challenges.

UET Peshawar students Muhammad Ishaq and Saad Rashid said their research group was working on a feasible solution to integrate generators with a solar-powered source. “Through our research, we have managed to develop a numerical relay – a fast-response unit that can trip the grid system before any sort of malfunction may damage the grid components,” said Ishaq.

He added the team was working to modify the concept and hoped to formally launch the technology within the next five to six months.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2017.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Gyan
    Mar 17, 2017 - 11:35AM

    Solar energy is very expensive even though the tariffs have fallen. There was a report earlier from premier agency that if solar energy continues to grow in India like it is now then there is no need to build solar panels after 2025. But initial costs are too high, India has largest solar power plant 650 MW which costed around $650 million. With same money many coal plants would have been built double the capacity. Whatever the potential a country has for solar it is nonsense, India has 900 GW of solar potential. What is the point if you can’t tap that potential at lower rates? Recommend

  • khalid siddiq gandhi
    Mar 17, 2017 - 12:18PM

    please correct the headline 1.9 MW is nothing already it is mentioned in the article as 2.9 million MW Recommend

  • Gyan
    Mar 17, 2017 - 1:34PM

    @Gyan there is no need to build coal plants after 2025** mistakeRecommend

  • Shiva
    Mar 17, 2017 - 1:45PM

    Gyan: Lower rates dont fall from sky. It is only when everyonr starts developing solar plants and the innovation kicks in. I am astonished to see that you equated coal plant with solar. Of course life threatening coal plants are cheaper than other plants. But how long will you keep using coal plants. Only till there is coal and future generations will be having chronic diseases. Whats the use? Recommend

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