Pakistan parliament goes 100% solar-powered

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Pakistan’s seat of government – the Majlis-e-Shoora in Islamabad – is now 100% powered by solar energy following the completion of a 1 MW solar PV rooftop array that directly feeds the building.

The solar project was first announced in 2015 following a state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping, during which a ‘friendship’ venture between the two countries.

The $53 million project was switched on last week, and on Friday members of the house met for the first time since the plant was connected. Any remaining energy that is not self-consumed is fed into the national grid, local media have confirmed.

The program will be formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif later in February, and special secretary at the National Assembly, Munawar Abbas Shah, remarked that it was important to complete the project ahead of summer when the parliament alone can consume more than 2 MWh of energy.

"This is the first project of its kind in a public building in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis," he said.

It is estimated that the parliament house will save around $1 million per year in energy bills following the completion of the PV project. It is the first parliament building in the world to become 100% solar-powered.

Israel’s Knesset building has a large solar array atop its roof, but that installation powers just 10% of its energy requirements.

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