US company TRA strikes deal for 100 MW solar project in Pakistan

The AEDB of Pakistan, and TRA of Nevada, U.S. have signed a letter of intent to construct a 100 MW PV power plant in the Cholistan Desert of Pakistan’s Punjab province. Development of the project is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2014 at an estimated cost of between $250 million and $300 million.

The deal is part of a wider plan by the newly formed Punjab Energy Council to develop 700 MW of solar power projects across a 10,000 acre site in the desert – a project that has been named Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park.

Following the approval of the park, the Quiad-e-Azam-Solar Power Co. – a state-owned company – was created to develop the project, backed by government funds and led by Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab province’s Chief Minister. Sharif will be joined by a vice chairman and six additional board members drawn from the local public and private sector.

In mid-February of this year, Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) proposed the introduction of a feed-in tariff (FIT) for PV projects between 1 and 100 MW, which stipulated that independent producers in receipt of the FIT are to be exempt from all duties and taxes associated with the power they generate, and guaranteed grid access and land for their projects.

While a great deal of PV projects have been proposed in Pakistan, it is estimated that just 250 MW can be classed as currently under development.