Pakistan passes 1 GW of RE capacity, targets 1.8 GW of PV by 2018: reports

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Solar accounts for 400 MW of the total, on top of 590 MW of wind and 145 MW of biomass capacity, reports The Nation, citing Amjad Ali Awan, chief executive officer of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB).

A significant portion of Pakistan’s PV capacity has been built at the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in southern Punjab province, with the AEDB recently confirming that another six 100 MW arrays are still in the pipeline at the site.

The AEDB expects the country’s installed solar capacity to hit roughly 1.8 GW by the end of 2018.

Its cumulative renewables capacity will grow to 1.185 GW in December, when a 50 MW wind farm — developed under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative — is scheduled to come on line near Gharo, Sindh province.

Approximately 91% of the country’s renewables capacity has been installed since 2013, according to government statistics.

Awan said the AEDB is targeting 3 GW of cumulative renewable-energy capacity from the start 0f 2019, via the government’s subsidy programs to support development.

In March, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) approved revised tariff rates of roughly $0.14 to $0.15/kWh for projects ranging in size from 1 MW to 100 MW, up slightly from rates it issued last year.

Pakistan is now mapping its renewables potential in cooperation with the World Bank, primarily by assessing data collected from 10 solar data stations and 12 wind masts.

The AEDB — an entity under the Ministry of Water and Power — is also developing regulations and guidelines for the eventual introduction of net-metering and the launch of a residential PV market, according to Awan.

In February, Pakistan’s parliament began drawing all of its electricity from a 1 MW solar array.

In May, Ernst & Young for the first time rated the country as being among the top 40 most attractive markets in the world for renewables investment, based on the government’s policy frameworks and efforts to attract foreign capital.

Private companies also continue to build PV projects in the country, with Harappa Solar announcing plans in June to build an 18 MW array in Sahiwal district, Punjab province.