Pakistani regulator signs off on 27 MW of new PV capacity, 15 MW of it bifacial


Pakistan is all set for three new solar projects to come online, possibly this year.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has issued a notice of admission pertaining to applications for three PV projects which encompass six solar plants as one spans two industrial sites and another is sited across three such units.

The total generation capacity of the plants will be 27.8 MW with the largest boasting a 15 MW rating and the smallest 617 kW.

The smaller installation is part of the three-plant Solis Energy Gen 1 (private) Limited portfolio, and will be collocated with textile factories belonging to Zahidjee Textile Mills Limited, in the district of Faisalbad. The two other sites will feature projects with capacities of 1.98 MW and 2.47 MW. All three will be built with Tier 1 polycrystalline modules with a 325 Wp rating and will be commissioned by December. Zahidjee Textile Mills will purchase all the generated electricity from the sites in a country where load shedding for more than 10 hours per day is no rarity, hampering business development. It is a situation which has led to many businesses taking power supply into their own hands.

Bifacial project

The biggest new plant notified by NEPRA, the 15 MW K1 Solar Power Lahore (private) Limited, will be built in Mankera, in the Punjab district of Bhakkar. That facility will feature Longi Solar LR-6-72 BP mono bifacial modules and will cost $14.5 million, with $11.6 million of the investment debt financed and $2.9 million from company equity. According to the documentation provided by NEPRA, the commissioning date is set for six months after financial close on the project. German engineering, procurement and construction company ib Vogt is involved in financing and constructing the facility, which will sell power to the Central Power Purchasing Agency.

The third scheme NEPRA has signed off on in the latest batch, the Nizam power (private) Limited, is two solar plants with a cumulative generation capacity of 7.7 MW. The sites, one rated at 4.1 MW and the other at 3.6 MW, feature 350 Wp monocrystalline modules at a combined cost of approximately $10 million. According to NEPRA, the project is set for commissioning by December. The two sites are in Quetta, in Baluchistan, and will feed power to the Quetta Electric Power Company.

Pakistan issues a 25-year tariff that is subject to review by NEPRA. The regulator considers project details and determines tariffs accordingly. For projects with a capacity of 50-100 MW the tariff has come down from $0.14/kWh to $0.05. For smaller assets, the tariff should be slightly higher but a final decision has not been disclosed for the three new projects.

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