LAHORE: Pakistan Solar Association (PSA) has urged the government to impose no customs duty on import of equipment used in solar power plants.
PSA chairman Faiz Bhutta said on Sunday that in its proposals for the upcoming budget, the association had sought tax and customs-duty exemption for import and use of solar equipment including solar panels, batteries and charge controllers (off-grid, on-grid and hybrid) in electricity production.
He said under the statutory regulatory order (SRO) - 575 (1) import of solar power plant equipment had been duty-free from 2006 to 2014. However, he said, the exemption was removed and 32 percent duty imposed on import of solar panel, 55 percent on batteries, 35 percent each on invertors and charge controller in 2014 under the fifth and sixth schedule of the Finance Act.
He said solar panels imported in the last fiscal year were capable of producing 300 megawatts of electricity. He said the import target for the next fiscal year had been set at 1,500 megawatts.
Solar panels manufactured in the country every year were capable of producing 10 megawatts electricity. However, he said, these panels did not meet international certification requirements.
Use coal reserves to end power shortage, says renewable energy association
The electricity produced from coal in the country is a very small fraction of the total electricity added to the national grid. With the use of known coal reserves, annual electricity production in the country could be increased to 49,000 megawatts by 2025, Renewable Energy Association of Pakistan chairman Naseer Ahmed told the APP on Sunday.
He said by using all known reserves of coal, the country could produce 100,000 megawatts of electricity per annum for 500 years. He said the 175 billion tonnes reserves in Thar region had been valued at $30 trillion. He said reserves in the Salt Range were estimated to be around 600 million tonnes. He dismissed the impression that coal reserves in Thar region were not suitable for electricity production and said that the coal could be used without an upgrade.
Electricity produced in this manner could be made environment friendly if the government simultaneously invested in clean coal technologies, he added.
Ahmed said use of imported furnace oil for electricity production cost $20 billion to the country every year. He urged the government to allocate funds in the next fiscal year for promotion of renewable energy sources for electricity production.
He said according to some estimates an additional 2,000 megawatts of electricity was being used every year due to the widespread use of uninterrupted power supply (UPS) equipments. Additionally, use of poor quality appliances also led to waste of electricity.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2015.