Pakistan: 100 MW PV plant planned, on track for 1 GW installs

First Solar Inc. will supply over 860,000 of its thin film modules to the 100 MW plant, which is part of the 1 GW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in the country’s Punjab province.

When complete, the plant is expected to generate 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, to be sold under a 25 year PPA with Pakistan’s Central Power Purchasing Agency.

First Solar and Zorlu cemented their relationship in February, after signing an agreement under which Zorlu would distribute First Solar’s modules in over 15 countries, including Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Ukraine.

Positive progress

According to its Q4 Global PV Market Outlook, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimates that Pakistan will see PV installations increase 46% this year, up from 700 MW in 2016, to 1.020 GW.

What’s more, says BNEF, the country imported US$267 million of solar products from China this year by August, compared to $335 million in the whole of 2016.

“This seems reasonably consistent with about 1GW being installed in 2017, as part of the Quaid-e Azam project and also in the commercial and agricultural sector,” write the report’s authors.

In March, Pakistan’s National Electric Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) said new projects would be awarded via competitive bidding rather than receive a feed-in tariff. “… but at least 200MW of projects in the pipeline still hope to be awarded the current rates,” says BNEF.

Pakistan also extended its net metering policy to agricultural projects.