Pakistan updates net metering scheme, unveils clean energy investment program

Pakistan has updated its net metering guidelines. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi officially launched the changes at a ceremony in Islamabad on January 3.

Overall, the framework is said to have been simplified, while net metering connections can now be gained in less than one month.

According to a statement on the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage Government of Pakistan website, Khaqan said issues of service and equipment quality had also been addressed.

He added that the key challenge now is to make the system “more efficient and reduce the cost of generation,” of which net metering is part of the plan.

Pakistan first introduced a net metering scheme on September 1, 2015. According to Net Metering Pakistan, as of last March 20, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) had connected 56 net metering systems and imported nearly 6 MWh of electricity.

Reducing the burden

The Government of Punjab is also looking to up the solar ante, having introduced The Access to Clean Energy Investment Program, aimed at reducing burden on the National Grid and improving environmental conditions through the implementation of off-grid, decentralized energy solutions.

It is looking to install solar PV rooftop systems on all basic health units (2,400), schools (20,000) and public buildings in the province.

In a document calling for expressions of interest (EOI), the government adds, “The program also includes conducting the energy efficiency audits on the public sector building, construction of a model net zero building and establishment of IT based Program Performance Monitoring System.”

Among the conditions required for project developers, are the criteria that they have completed at least two similar projects within the last 10 years, and have an annual turnover of Rs. 30.00 Million (around US$270,800) or higher.

To fund the program, the government has asked the Asian Development Bank for support to the tune of $87.69 million, which was already approved in November 2016.

“The ADB will support broader GoPb provincial government program for providing uninterrupted access to affordable and clean energy, as set out in the respective power sector master plan,” said the government.

Overall, two phases have been envisaged for implementing the plan: (i) solar PV rooftop systems on 10,861 schools in South Punjab; and (ii) systems on another around 9,700 schools in Northern and Central Punjab.

“The installed solar plants will provide electricity to more than 2.4 million students, including 30% girl’s schools,” said the government.

In addition, a 2.5 MW PV system will be installed at the Islamia University Bahawalpur in 
Punjab by Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA). And 2,400 basic healthcare units will receive solar PV rooftop installations.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Pakistan will see PV installations increase 46% in 2017, up from 700 MW in 2016, to 1.020 GW.