Pakastan’s new solar farm alleviates country’s crippling energy crisis  

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has flipped the switch on Pakistan’s first solar farm, capable of generating 100 MWh of electricity by the end of this year and will be expanded to deliver 1,000 MWh per within the next two years.

With over 400,000 solar panels and at a cost of $131 million the solar park brings a much needed upgrade to the country’s infrastructure.

“If you come here after one and a half years, you will see a river of solar panels, residential buildings and offices — it will be a new world,” says site engineer Muhammad Sajid referring to the surround desert.

Although the solar farm will stimulate commercial development, more importantly it provides the first step on the long road to energy stability in the region. According to the Pakistan Tribune, temperatures in the area can reach in excess of 50 degrees Celsius and the demand on the energy grid can fall short by as much as 4,000 MWh.

Although also supporting construction of coal-fired plants in Gadani, authorities hope that this brings short term relief as renewable energy solutions can be implemented.

“We need energy badly and we need clean energy, this is a sustainable solution for years to come,” said Imran Sikandar Baluch, head of the Bahawalpur district administration.

“Pakistan is a place where you have a lot of solar potential. In Bahawalpur, with very little rain and a lot of sunshine, it makes the project feasible and more economical,” he said.

In January Prime Minister Sharif oversaw construction of a 1.8 MW solar power plant at Parliament House in Islamabad. The installation is hoped to inspire Pakistan residents in remote areas to consider stand-alone solar kits to provide electricity to premises disconnected from the grid.

“This is the right time to encourage the public and private sector to focus on solar energy and provide off-grid solutions to people living in far-flung areas of the country,” said Iftikhar Ahmad Qaisrani, founder of the Renewable Energy Society for Education, Awareness Research and Community Help (RESEARCH).