Solar energy firms eye Pakistan as shortages persist

Photo: REUTERS

Per capita electr­icity consum­ption in the countr­y 10 times lower than world averag­e

Photo: REUTERS

LAHORE: The ongoing energy crisis in Pakistan, coupled with various tariff slabs, has encouraged many overseas companies to enter the lucrative yet niche market of solar power solutions.

Though solar power technology is not new, as time passes more advanced technological companies are looking to penetrate energy-starved markets in the Asian region.

SkyElectric, a Florida-based company, believes that the population of this region is going to increase manifold in coming years and so would the demand for electricity.

In power-short Pakistan, switch to solar power hit by rumours

“The world is expected to have an additional 2 billion people in the next 20 years and along with Pakistan, other regional countries will have a major increase in population, which are still struggling to meet their demand,” said Ashar Aziz, Chief Executive Officer of SkyElectric, while talking to a group of journalists on Tuesday. He said per capita income was still low in Pakistan, which had a direct impact on 48% of domestic power consumers as they used less electricity.

“Per capita electricity consumption in the modern world ranges between 4,000 and 5,000 units per annum, whereas in Pakistan it is around 450 units,” he said.

“With rising demand in Pakistan, one can guess what could be the demand in coming years, especially when migration to urban centres is on the rise,” Aziz said.

He said it was the right time to move towards reliable hybrid solar power solution, which was a cheap source of energy, having negligible recurring cost. It could also become a source of income by selling surplus power to the national grid by connecting with the network of distribution companies through smart meters. “One million houses with efficient solar power solutions in Pakistan can reduce 20-30% load from the national power grid, which can be provided to industries and commercial users.”

He suggested that the government should further reduce import duties and taxes on solar power panels and batteries, which would greatly promote use of solar power solutions at the domestic level, resulting in uninterrupted power supply to these consumers.

Ministry reluctant to notify highest power tariff for solar projects

Electric utilities should make it easier to export excess solar energy back to the main grid by simplifying the process of acquiring net-metering licences, he added. He said his company’s systems were advanced, combining solar energy with lithium-ion battery technology, energy intelligence and 24/7 remote monitoring and fault correction through a network operation centre.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2017.

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Solar power for State lighthouses

BERHAMPUR:Odisha’s six lighthouses, that have been providing safe voyage to mariners and navigators since the British era, have been solarised as part of a country-wide programme to power these establishments with renewable energy. Solarisation of lighthouses was completed recently.

The lighthouses are now effectively functioning with solar renewable energy and solarisation process has so far been hassle-free, bereft of technical snags.Lighthouses in Chandrabhaga and Puri, both in Puri district; False Point in Kendrapara district; Gopalpur and Prayagi in Ganjam district; and Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district have been solarised as per the initiative of the Union Ministry of Shipping. Solar energy system has been put in place at the lighthouses to reduce carbon dioxide emission, according to officials of Directorate General of Lighthouse and Lightships (DGLL). They added that the beam of light of a lighthouse covers at least 18 km and a maximum of 36 km. The generated renewable energy is able to meet each of the lighthouses’ daily power requirement.

“Paradip lighthouse has been brought under the solarisation project. At present, we are able to generate one kilo watt of solar energy to meet power requirement of the beam light signal. The solar plant is being further expanded,” informed head of Paradip lighthouse, BK Datta.  

Lighthouses in the State were earlier operating on the conventional source of energy like electricity and diesel generators. These have been replaced with solar energy as part of solarisation plan of Union Shipping Ministry. All of the six lighthouses have been be powered by solar panels in a pollution control measure. The initiative has led to the use of green energy for environment-friendly measure.

As the lighthouses are lying in close proximity of serene sea beach, plans are afoot to develop these centres as tourist destinations. Already beautification of the lighthouse sites has been undertaken. As a result of which, there has been a marked increase in tourists’ footfall in all these six lighthouses in the state, observed officials of Directorate General of Lighthouse and Lightships (DGLL).Apparently, the solarisation project had started in the country in 2014-15 financial year by the Ministry and including six lighthouses in Odisha, 193 lighthouses throughout the country were fitted with solar panels at the cost of `1145.03 lakhs. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Elon Musk talks cars _ and humanity’s fate _ with governors

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the closing plenary session entitled "Introducing the New Chairs Initiative - Ahead" on the third day of the National Governors Association's meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned a bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors on Saturday that government regulation of artificial intelligence is needed because it’s a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

But first, he asked for some governors to lift a different kind of regulation: state franchise dealership laws that ban the direct sale of his company’s electric cars to consumers.

Musk spoke broadly about solar energy, space travel, self-driving cars and other emerging technology during a question-and-answer session at the summer conference of the National Governors Association in Rhode Island.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the closing plenary session entitled “Introducing the New Chairs Initiative – Ahead” on the third day of the National Governors Association’s meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

He also met privately with some governors, including Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards, who recently signed a law that Musk’s Palo Alto, California-based company says blocks it from selling cars there.

Edwards said Tesla asked for the one-on-one meeting with Musk, which was short.

“I just asked him to come down to Louisiana and sit down with us, sit down with the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association and work out some sort of a compromise, which they have successfully done in other states,” Edwards said.

Allowing manufacturer-to-consumer sales also came up in meetings between Musk and two other governors – the conference’s host, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Representatives for the two Democrats confirmed they had private meetings with Musk and the topic came up.

Musk didn’t address such rules in his public remarks, but he did speak about regulation generally – and reiterated his long-held argument that it is needed soon to protect humanity from being outsmarted by computers, or “deep intelligence in the network” that can start wars by manipulating information.

Pressed for more specific guidance by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, Musk said the first step is for government to get a better understanding of the fast-moving achievements in developing artificial intelligence technology.

“Once there is awareness, people will be extremely afraid, as they should be,” Musk said.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk addresses the closing plenary session entitled “Introducing the New Chairs Initiative – Ahead” on the third day of the National Governors Association’s meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the closing plenary session entitled “Introducing the New Chairs Initiative – Ahead” on the third day of the National Governors Association’s meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval takes off his tie as he tells Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk he planned to take it off when Musk was introduced during the closing plenary session entitled “Introducing the New Chairs Initiative – Ahead” on the third day of the National Governors Association’s meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. Musk, in a suit, is not wearing a tie. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval during the closing plenary session entitled “Introducing the New Chairs Initiative – Ahead” on the third day of the National Governors Association’s meeting Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

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