Pakistani local authority wants to cut ties with central grid with solar panels

19 Feb 2015

Suspension bridge across the Indus River along the Karakorum Highway in Pakistan

Pakistan’s northern provincial government is looking to ease its people’s electricity shortages with the distribution of 220W solar panels to power 5,800 homes that are currently off the area’s main grid.

Each of the solar panels will be distributed among 200 villages across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with 29 homes in each village to receive the panels that will be capable of distributing the energy to other houses in the village.

According to Web & Techs, the Pakistani government will be investing 4bn rupees (€56.5m) as part of the Green Growth Initiative (GGI) that was started last year with the help of legendary Pakistani cricketer and leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party Imran Khan.

As part of this deal, each home installed with the solar panels will also receive two batteries to store the electricity, as well as a number of accessories to use the electricity, including two plug sockets to charge mobile phones, a ceiling fan and three LED lights.

Initially, the solar panels are expected to provide 1.2MW of power for the region but have set the eventual target of powering the entire region with solar energy.

This will come as welcome news to a province where the region requires 2,500MW of power, but only achieves, at most, 1,600MW in total.

The country, particularly its rural areas, are plagued with rolling blackouts that in some cases last as long as 14 hours a day.

“We will exploit renewable-energy resources and produce our own electricity, after which we will not need to beg from the centre,” said Khan of the project.

Pakistani bridge image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic