NEPRA de­ter­mines up­front so­lar tar­iff

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

In a land­mark decision the Na­tional Elec­tric Power Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (NEPRA) has de­ter­mined and ap­proved the up­front tar­iff and ad­just­ments/in­dex­a­tions for so­lar power gen­er­a­tion for de­liv­ery of elec­tric­ity to the power pur­chaser based on so­lar PV power plants.

This de­ter­mi­na­tion was given in ac­cor­dance with Sec­tion 31 Sub Sec­tion (4) of the Reg­u­la­tion of Gen­er­a­tion, Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion of Elec­tric Power Act, 1997 read with Reg­u­la­tion 3 of the Up­front Tar­iff (Ap­proval & Pro­ce­dure) Reg­u­la­tions, 2011 (vide S.R.O. 757(1) 2011). An ap­pli­cant can opt for the Up­front Gen­er­a­tion Tar­iff for So­lar PV Power Plant once no­ti­fied in the Of­fi­cial gazette pur­suant to sec­tion 31(4) of the Reg­u­la­tion of Gen­er­a­tion, Trans­mis­sion and Dis­tri­bu­tion of Elec­tric Power Act, 1997(XL of 1997.

The tar­iff of so­lar power is to re­duce over time; it would pro­vide en­ergy se­cu­rity in the coun­try in addi- tion to di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in gen­er­a­tion. So­lar power would fa­cil­i­tate the econ­omy and in­dus­try of Pak­istan due to its unique ben­e­fits and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

The So­lar en­ergy is clean, en­vi­ron­ment friendly and re­new­able and also pro­vides ben­e­fit of car­bon cred­its. The over­all cost of project and gen­er­a­tion cost is very much com­pet­i­tive.

Per MW cost of so­lar power although higher in the be­gin­ning but sub­se­quent de­cline in cost makes it fi­nan­cially vi­able so­lu­tion in the medium term. Its in­stal­la­tion is easy and quick and can play an im­por­tant role for over­com­ing en­ergy cri­sis.

Low op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance cost of so­lar power project is an added ad­van­tage. It would mean less re­liance on ex­ter­nal im­ports of fos­sil fuel or no worry of de­ple­tion of in­dige­nous nat­u­ral re­sources likes gas.

Sub­se­quently as the next stage after in­tro­duc­tion of off grid so­lu­tion so­lar pan­els can be pro­vided to re­mote ar­eas. In Pak­istan con­nect­ing far off vil­lages to the na­tional grid would be very costly, thus giv­ing each house a so­lar panel would be cost ef­fi­cient and would save in­vest­ment in trans­mis­sion lines and trans­mis­sion losses.

Many coun­tries USA, Ger­many, Aus­tralia, Brazil, UK, Ja­pan, In­dia, China and Thai­land are now gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity in bulk through so­lar sys­tem.

Pak­istan re­ceives one of the best so­lar ir­ra­di­a­tion in the world and has a po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate over 2.324 mil­lion megawatts elec­tric­ity per an­num through so­lar ther­mal and pho­to­voltaic sys­tems but this po­ten­tial is yet to be tapped. So­lar ir­ra­di­a­tion in Pak­istan and In­dia stands at 1,900 (kWh/m2), against China's 1,500 and Ger­many's 1,200. In­dia has al­ready in­stalled so­lar power projects hav­ing 3,000 mw ca­pac­ity, China 22,000 mw and Ger­many suc­ceeded in in­stalling 38,000mw of so­lar power gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity. The de­ter­mi­na­tion of up­front tar­iff is a step by NEPRA in­deed in the right di­rec­tion. Net me­ter­ing is also be­ing en­vis­aged by NEPRA as the next step after in­puts, com­ments and rec­om­men­da­tions are re­ceived from stake­hold­ers.

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