Solar Panel Demand to Rise in Pakistan

Severe shortage of electricity in the country has increased the current market demand for solar panels from 350 megawatts (MW) per year in 2013 to approximately 1500 MW in 2017.

Electricity demand is constantly on the rise in Pakistan when compared to its production. The demand surpasses the energy supply which results in power outages. This gap does not seem to be ending anytime soon which calls for more power-backup systems such as solar power solutions.

The Situation

According to industry reports, the current market demand for solar panels has grown from 350 megawatts (MW) per year in 2013 to approximately 1500 MW this year and this trend is expected to continue in the forthcoming years. Most of the demand is currently met through imported solar systems from China, Germany and the US; local production capacity is limited to approximately 10 MW per year, leaving a demand gap of 1400 MW.

Homage, one of the leading power appliances brand in Pakistan, has recently launched its new solar power inverter system which consists of an inverter, solar panels and a chargeable gel battery.

They said:

We were already selling solar power inverters and batteries and considering the high demand for alternative power solutions, we decided to add solar panels to our portfolio.

Its possible that more local brands might add solar solutions to their portfolios since the demand continues to grow.

Reasons To Buy Solar Panels

There are plenty of legitimate reasons why solar energy is well suited for Pakistan and its ever-growing energy needs. Here are some of the main reasons:

  • Pakistan, one of the places with highest solar insulation on Earth, can take maximum advantage from solar renewable energy, with upto 200 W/m2 of solar radiation in majority of areas, excluding some places in the extreme north and coastal regions.
  • Daytime on average is about 10 hours a day with an average solar radiation intensity ranging from 1500W/m2/day to 2750W/m2/day. This makes solar panels highly suitable as an energy alternative.
  • Unlike geo-thermal or hydal power, solar energy is also the only form of renewable energy that does not require heavy investments and can be setup in the shortest time span.
  • Solar products are cheaper owing to waiver of the 17% GST and imposition of five percent customs duty on the import of solar panel components and systems.
  • Citizens are now more aware of the benefits of using solar energy and other alternative solutions.

Solar Power Technology Competition

Many non-branded and imported solar products occupy 90% of the market. These products have relatively reduced prices and have globally recognized TUV certification which ensures that their products are internationally acceptable for safety and quality.

Distinctive Cost Edge

In comparison to the local brands with TUV certification, Homage products are more cost effective. It also provides a wide range of packages to the customers with diverse budget and power needs.

Competition With Lead-Acid Based Battery Market

Homage is also in fierce competition with the producers of lead-acid based batteries where top manufacturers such as AGS, Exide and Volta control almost 90% of the market. Acid batteries also have reduced costs than the gel batteries that come with Homage solar inverter system.

This is the first year these brands have started promoting themselves as UPS or solar system battery providers.

I am not in a position to say whether they have made significant changes in their car batteries before marketing them as a battery source for power backup systems or not.

What I can say is that Homage has been specializing in this category for years and we have established our expertise in this category.

Homage has been promoting its solar inverter system with a promise of providing unfailing electricity as a cost effective solution to the power shortage using the tagline of “Bachat aur aqalmandi ka poora package” (an intelligent system that yields cost savings) for their marketing campaign.

Though they are not looking into becoming a market leader at this point in time, companies such as Homage hope that their significant marketing and public awareness campaigns for solar panel adoption can go a long way in changing the mindsets of the average Pakistani consumer. They foresee it as the only way to bring about a solar energy revolution in Pakistan on the mainstream level.