Suntech to Bring Solar to Pakistan

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the world’s largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, has announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) to work towards the widespread use of solar energy technologies to meet the energy shortage in Pakistan.

The objective of the MOU is to facilitate cooperation between Suntech and the public sector and private companies in Pakistan to help implement solar programs including the AEDB’s Rural Electrification Program; the development of Solar Power Pumping Systems with the AEDB and the World Bank; and Solar Power Telecom Projects in collaboration with Pakistani telecom companies.

“We are proud to collaborate with the Alternative Energy Development Board to bring the latest in crystalline silicon solar technology to Pakistan,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO. “This is a clear example of the promise of solar energy in meeting growing demands for electricity in the developing world in an environmentally friendly way. With rapid improvements in solar energy technology and operational efficiency, solar energy is establishing itself as a crucial, cost-competitive part of the global energy mix.”

“We are very pleased to be working with Suntech towards developing clean renewable energy in our country,” said Mr. Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China. “Pakistan is committed to using solar power as a way to solve Pakistan’s energy shortage, and we are confident in Suntech’s reputation as a global industry leader to bring reliable environmentally sustainable solutions to Pakistan’s growing energy needs.”

The MOU sets forth the agreement in principle of the parties concerning the project and related activities. Final agreement between the parties is subject to the negotiation and execution of definitive agreements among the parties.

About 70 percent of Pakistan’s population — about 120 million people — live in some 50,000 villages across the country, many of which are beyond main electricity transmission lines.

Bottom line: if Suntech and AEDB can get pricing and deployment right, the potential market may be huge.

For a brief overview, see this report (PDF) from the Solar Energy Research Centre.