The current status of Solar Energy in Pakistan

With the Earth’s resources being limited and scarce, many troubling issues have aroused including the rising energy costs. Luckily with the technological advances, we have a renewable energy source with the potential to meet many energy challenges faced by the world, The Solar Energy. The classic renewable energy source is considered to be one of the best methods to reduce carbon emission and taking the potential for expansion in consideration, solar energy would have the capacity to supply a much more significant proportion of our energy requirements.

Situation in Pakistan:

Similarly, in Pakistan, the growing energy needs with rising costs have made the development and efficient use of renewable energy, the need of the hour. This has drawn the attention of national, local and multinational companies to work and strategize the development plan of renewable energy in the form of wind mills or solar panels. Currently, our energy resource is solely based on Hydal power generation (Tarbela, Mangla, Ghazi and Brotha). The capacity of this resource is much lower than the required and demanded across the state. Fortunately, Pakistan is one of those blessed countries in which the sun warms the surface throughout the year and therefore this land has a great potential of solar energy generation.

Solar irradiance levels in Pakistan, particularly in the southwest are on the par with the best in the world. The Government of Pakistan’s first steps towards firm support of renewables in its energy mix came in 2006 when it released its Policy for Development of Renewable Energy Generation. Ever since the approval of the plan, the progress and development has been considerably slow. As of now, the government of Pakistan and Alternate energy development bureau (AEDB) are in collaboration with many foreign investors and multinational companies like JICA and USAID to exploit the maximum solar potential in Pakistan.

Moreover, the provincial and federal governments both are seeking towards the public-private partnership to promote the solar harvesting. Many investors have balled their eyes on the Pakistani market because of the potential in the country and numerous benefits of this energy source. Some of the best reasons of utilizing solar energy are mentioned below;

Benefits of Utilizing Solar Energy

1. Renewable energy source:

One of the best things about solar energy is that it is renewable. Considering the situation of Pakistan, we have limited resources and the current capacity of our power plants to generate energy is way below the demanded capacity. Solar energy is a renewable free source of energy that is sustainable and totally inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels that are finite.

Solar power works on the form of solar panels which direct the sunlight to a concentrated point which provides heat. Initially, it was being used to heat water in some factories but now it is being used to power homes and buildings in photovoltaic solar. The current generation of solar energy in Pakistan is low as of yet because of less awareness but it is expected to grow drastically in the coming years.

2. Reduction in cost:

Since you will be utilizing power generated by the solar panels instead of the hydal energy sold by the authorities, you will be saving up a lot on the electricity bills. However, how much you save will be dependent on the size of the solar panels and the usage of the heat. It is a myth that that solar panels produce more heat in summers because of the temperature. Solar panels depend on the sun rays, days are longer in summers which means that the panels will stay longer in summers and produce more energy.

Another additional costs associated with energy are the maintenance costs. For instance, servicing of generators or UPS, power breakdown, disruption or blast in the wires. With solar panels, there is not such maintenance required. Most of the solar panels are installed with at least 10 years of warranty and only the invertor needs maintenance and that too because it is always in operation, converting the rays into heat and then into power.

3. Technology advancement:

Anything revolutionary always ensure innovation and technological advances. There are two main types of solar technology; photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP). Solar PV technology captures sunlight to generate electric power, and CSP harnesses the heat of the sun and uses it to produce thermal energy that powers heaters or turbines. These two forms of solar energy enable a wide range of technical innovations.

Technology in all industries is continuously revolutionizing and with time, technology will produce better, more sustainable and cost-effective alternatives. With solar energy being common and accessible to a larger audience, more and more researchers will participate and as a result quantum physics and nanotechnology will improve and evolve the solar panel technology.

4. Eco-friendly:

One of another major factor why so many people especially third world countries are attracted towards solar panel is the environmental friendly approach since it reduces carbon emissions. Most of the energy generated in Pakistan is extracted from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Unlike the other energy sources, Solar energy is known to have a favorable impact on the environment.

Fossil fuels produce greenhouse gases when burned with carbon emission and this results in rising global climate and temperature. By investing in solar energy, yo u can help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in favor of one of the most abundant, consistent sources of energy we have available: our sun.

5. Diverse Applications:

Solar panel with multiple benefits can used utilized for various and diverse purposes. Such as;

  • The fundamental and basic use of solar panels, to heat water. A solar water heating unit comprises a blackened flat plate metal collector with an associated metal tubing facing the general direction of the sun. The metal tube stores the hot water and transfers the water to the pipe it is connected to.
  • The very common and mostly common usage these days; solar heating of buildings. In this process, solar radiations are transmitted to the building by some solar-facing windows.
  • Other applications include solar pumping; solar energy is used for pumping water for irrigation and solar drying of agriculture.

Harmful Effects of Solar Energy

Everything comes with a cost, the cost can be either in monetary terms or on the culture or environment surrounding. Similar is the case with solar Energy, of the multiple benefits it can provide to the nations but it does come with some lagging factors. Such as;

  • Particularly in Pakistan, many people in Pakistan are reluctant to opt for solar energy because of the set up cost associated with it. The cost structure includes the cost for wiring, batteries and installation cost. The price may vary depending upon the size and capacity of solar panels.
  • Since all of the energy will be generated from solar panels, thus it would require space. The bigger the need of energy, larger the space required for storage of solar panels.
  • Solar energy is one of the most reliable and renewable form of energy. Unlike other energy sources produced by fossil fuels, do not emit carbon emissions but they do utilize some gases such as silicon, benzene, etc.

Although there are few but significant challenges faced by the world and particularly Pakistani for installing and adopting Solar energy source but the choice should be made by weighing the pros and cons. However, considering the benefits and disadvantages of solar energy, the benefits outweigh the harmful effects. Moreover, with the use of effective and cutting edge technology, many innovations and revolutionary techniques are expected to come under consideration to combat the underlying challenges.

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