So­lar en­ergy to be brought into na­tional power grid

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Amid a wors­en­ing en­ergy cri­sis, Pak­istan has ap­proved the use of grid- con­nected so­lar en­ergy, rooftop so­lar in­stal­la­tions and mort­gage fi­nanc­ing for home so­lar pan­els to boost up­take of clean en­ergy in the coun­try.

The gov­ern­ment has also re­versed course and elim­i­nated a 32.5 per cent tax im­posed on im­ported so­lar equip­ment in the coun­try’s 2014- 15 bud­get. The re­ver­sal aims to bring down the cost of in­stalling so­lar pan­els.

The ap­proval of net- me­ter­ing — which al­lows so­lar panel pur­chasers to sell power they pro­duce to the na­tional grid — is a ma­jor break­through that could spur use of so­lar en­ergy and help Pak­istan’s gov­ern­ment cut power short­ages in the long run, said As­jad Imtiaz Ali, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Al­ter­na­tive En­ergy De­vel­op­ment Board, a pub­lic or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“The ini­tia­tive will help scale up de­mand for so­lar en­ergy across Pak­istan,” he said, “and we hope the in­creased de­mand will also re­sult in suf­fi­cient de­creases in the price of so­lar equip­ment.”

Ali said the gov­ern­ment de­cided to cut newly im­posed taxes on the im­port of so­lar pan­els fol­low­ing pres­sure from business own­ers, the pub­lic and me­dia.

And the decision to al­low so­lar gen­er­a­tors to sell their ex­cess gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity means “con­sumers can now in­stall rooftop so­lar sys­tems and sell the ex­tra en­ergy to the na­tional grid,” he said.

Cur­rently, Pak­istan’s ru­ral ar­eas face black­outs of over 11 hours a day while ur­ban ar­eas suf­fer up to eight hours of daily power cuts. The to­tal power short­fall stands around 6,000 megawatts.

Safeer Hus­sain, a regis­trar at the Na­tional Elec­tric Power Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity ( Nepra), said con­sumers who in­tend to sell so­lar- gen­er­ated elec­tric power to a dis­tri­bu­tion company would need to reg­is­ter with his au­thor­ity.

“Net- me­ter­ing is a so­phis­ti­cated sys­tem and the ap­pli­cant would be re­spon­si­ble for the in­stal­la­tion of the equip­ment used for in­ter­con­nec­tion,” he said.


Net- me­ter­ing is a billing mech­a­nism that cred­its so­lar en­ergy sys­tem own­ers for the elec­tric­ity they add to the na­tional grid.

If a so­lar house­hold uses more grid power than it sup­plies to the grid from its so­lar pan­els, it would still be billed each month for that ex­cess power. But if it sup­plies more elec­tric­ity than it uses in a month, then it will re­ceive a credit against fu­ture bills or, be paid for the power on an an­nual ba­sis, Hus­sain said.

“The tar­iff ap­pli­ca­ble for pur­chase of elec­tric­ity from the con­sumer will be the same at

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