Over 70 percent of schools in Punjab have switched to solar energy as an alternate source of electricity, as per official sources.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) allocated a sizeable $86 million for the project, and more than 10,000 primary schools so far have shifted to the alternate energy source.
The bank is also working on an energy-efficient building for the Punjab Energy Department in Lahore.
In other developments, a Chinese company, in collaboration with a Pakistani firm, is on schedule to complete a 100MW solar power plant in Layyah. Authorities expect the plant to be operational during the current year and be an economical and eco-friendly addition to the national energy grid.
Similarly, 550KW hybrid solar-biogas projects will be installed in Sammundri and Vehari, costing the national exchequer Rs. 282 million.
A 2.5MW solar power project at Islamia University Bahawalpur is nearing completion in 2021, with a couple of distribution units to be operational in the next few months. When completed, it is expected to help the government save Rs. 55 million in annual bill payments.
In other news, a lot of work has been done to convert 20 well-known shrines in the province to solar energy. Some notable beneficiaries of the project include Data Darbar, Darbar Baba Bhuleh Shah, along with the shrines of Shah Hussain, Hazrat Sultan Bahoo, Shams Tabrez, and Bahauddin Zakaria Multani, among others.
Punjab Energy Minister, Akhtar Malik, commended the government’s efforts to recognize the energy situation in the province and for initiating reforms to improve the system. In a statement, Malik said,
With the steps taken by the government, facilities are being brought to the doorsteps of the people so that they can get relief.
Currently, the provincial government pays more than Rs. 37 billion to electricity providers and that amount will surely increase if underlined reforms do not materialize soon.
The provincial government is currently working on numerous projects to reduce fiscal strain on underdeveloped sectors. Experts believe that if all energy projects are completed within the given timeline, the government will save billions in bill payments.
The introduction, and potential adaptation of solar energy, as an alternate source of electricity, are imperative to the government’s national interests. The amount of money saved, as a result, could be used elsewhere.