Phono Solar completes Pakistan's first MW-scale PV plant

Chinese solar firm Phono Solar – a subsidiary of the SUMEC Group – has connected Pakistan’s first large-scale PV plant to the grid.

The 1.25 MW installation was completed this week in the hot and humid Punjab province under the “Go Global” policy backed by the Chinese central government.

Spread across 16,000 square meters, the plant is expected to maximize the high levels of solar insolation in the region to produce an estimated 1,745,000 kWh of solar power annually, and will meet the power demands of 110 local villages.

Phono Solar won the bid for the installation nine months ago, and over the course of the installation formed a team with local partner Green Volts Technologies, which brought a cost-effective approach to the operation as well as much-needed local knowledge.

The plant will take advantage of Pakistan’s recently introduced Upfront Generation Tariff, which was created to support the country’s fledgling solar PV sector. China’s “Go Global” policy intends to encourage greater investment in the solar sector via working with local engineers and technicians and training them on manufacturing and engineering procedures.

"The successful grid connection of the first MW-level PV power plant in Pakistan has brought full recognition of overseas markets for engineering and general contracting capabilities of SUMEC; especially in renewable energy fields," said SUMEC president CaiJibo. "Most of the equipment used in this project is made in China, and I am proud that our equipment has successfully supported the ‘Go Global’ policy and obtained affirmation of new overseas markets."

Last month the Pakistan government approved the country’s first net metering program as it attempted to ease the power burden on the power grid, while in December Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif scrapped the 5% customs duty on imported solar panels in an attempt to bolster foreign investment in the country.