A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding solar development project was signed between Punjab government and an international consortium of five countries including Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Austria and Pakistan at Chief Minister Office on Wednesday.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Energy Minister Sher Ali Khan, Secretary Energy and senior officials of concerned departments were present.
Secretary Energy Usman Bajwa and chief executive of the Swiss Company STCS AG and group chairman of the consortium, Rainer Kertess, signed the document on behalf of Punjab government and the international consortium respectively.
Under the agreement, the international consortium will set up a plant for assembling and manufacturing solar panels, solar cells and batteries in Faisalabad.
The consortium will also consider the project of setting up 400 solar power projects each near industrial zones in Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala and Lahore while a 150-megawatt power plant will be set up along the motorway from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad.
The consortium will also introduce solar pumps for agriculture sector in Punjab besides street lights in big cities of the province as well as those installed at Ring Road will be gradually converted to solar power.
The consortium will also consider introduction and implementation of zero energy building system for large buildings besides evolving a project of supply of off-grid energy to industrial zones.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that measures would be taken for the early implementation of the agreement in a transparent manner. He said that Punjab government will provide all-out facilities to the international consortium.
“Nothing could be more important than solution of energy crisis,” he said, adding Punjab government is encouraging foreign investment in the energy sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.