Call for liberalisation of solar power distribution

The speakers maintained that the power sector at present faces many problems, is still in need of careful study


Our Correspondent May 02, 2021
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ISLAMABAD:

Enhancing the public-private partnership, streamlining financial instruments and paving grounds for increasing power purchase agreement power-purchase agreement (PPA)-based contracts is the only way forward for creating a conducive environment for third party intervention in solar-based distributed generation in the country.

This was the gist of the consultative session titled ‘Prospects of Third-Party Intervention Framework and Business Models for Photovoltaic (PV) based Distributed Generation’ held at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Islamabad to assess and discuss business models to foster solar PV-based distributed generation uptake for commercial and industrial power sector consumers.

Chaired by Former Federal Secretary Water and Power Mirza Hamid Hasan and co-c haired by Chairman IPS Khalid Rahman, the deliberation was addressed by energy experts and practitioners Dr Irfan Yousuf, consultant renewable energy, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), and Dr Bilal Masood, additional director R&D, NEPRA. Muhammad Saeed from Pakistan-Germany Renewable Energy Forum (PGREF), Muhammad Ali Qureshi from SAARC Energy Centre and Hamza Naeem, a researcher from IPS were also among the speakers.

The participants were of the view that high tariff and load-shedding are the primary drivers behind the shift of consumers towards alternate sources of cheap energy, as usage of solar PV based distributed generation facilities vis-à-vis net-metering are on the rise in the country. NEPRA has to regulate the proliferation of PPA business models so that the record of each installed capacity remains in place, they emphasised.

It was also observed during the discussion that the government is not giving subsidies to SMEs involved in implementing the PPA model despite the fact SMEs can play an important role in solar power generation. This, the speakers opined, can be addressed through easy loans, grants, crediting schemes under the State Bank renewable finance and introduction of the feed-in tariff for the deployment of such installations.

The speakers however maintained that the power sector at present faces many problems and in need of careful study before concrete measures are taken.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2021.

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