While talking to a seminar on net metering, a method which allows surplus energy to be transferred back to the national grid and vice versa, Dr. Akhtar Malik, Energy Minister for Punjab expressed that the Punjab government plans to set up solar energy systems in over 15,000 schools.
The seminar was conducted in a joint collaboration between the Multan Electric Power Company (MEPCO) and Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA).
The minister said that net metering was critically needed in the country and added “We can overcome our energy crisis by launching net metering systems,” he said that the country had an abundance of sunlight throughout the year had huge potential as a power source. In the first phase, the government would target schools that lacked electricity, he further added.
The previous government came under fire from the minister for not utilizing natural resources and he alleged that using foreign imports rather than local resources for development projects was done for kickbacks. Malik said that coal was imported to be used in the Sahiwal energy project when local coal could have been used by making minor technical changes.
The national exchequer is burdened by PKR 140 billion because the power plant in Jhang was launched prematurely and the Orange Line Metro Train in Lahore would be given a subsidy by the government to operate, he said.
A lab has been set up to determine the efficiency of fans and lights while the Punjab government was mapping out an energy policy in a bid to counter the energy crisis; these are a handful of measures the Punjab government has introduced to conserve energy, he expressed.
The government will be working in tandem with two private banks to increase the usage of net metering; the banks would cover 75% of the cost and the rest would be covered by the consumer. To encourage the people, 5 million housing units can be shifted to solar energy, he added.
He pointed out that 800,000 kW are generated through net metering by Germany and added that the government plans to construct an eight-story building in Lahore powered solely by solar energy. Khwaja Baddar Munir, the Vice President of Multan Chamber of Commerce and others were also present at the occasion.