In a bid to overcome the ongoing energy crisis, the government has decided to promote solar energy, and the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) has been tasked with formulating a policy to manufacture solar panels and allied equipment in the country.
Sources in the Ministry of Industries said that the Engineering Development Board (EDB) is likely to finalise a policy document on “Solar Panels and Allied Equipment Manufacturing” in August.
The solar panel manufacturing policy will be aligned with the National Solar Energy Policy being prepared by the Ministry of Power and the Renewable Energy Task Force.
Currently, the basic raw materials related to solar panels are imported, but as the demand was soaring, there was a need to promote local raw material manufacturing.
An EDB official highlighted that while glass and aluminium frames used for solar panels can easily be manufactured in Pakistan due to the strong presence of this allied industry within the country.
The EDB, which falls under the MoIP, has held consultations with stakeholders, including for local producers of solar panels, provincial energy departments, research organisations, academia, users, and other relevant organisations and departments in the federal and provincial governments.
To reduce dependence on fossil fuels only for power generation and promote alternative energy, the government has also decided to solarise government offices and tube wells.
The country was facing serious energy shortages with record prices that had directly and indirectly affected all sectors of the economy.
The country’s electricity demand has reached almost 29,000 megawatts compared to 22,000 MW generation, creating a considerable gap between generation and demand and resulting in load-shedding.
With the present government’s focus on promoting solar energy, it becomes imperative to promote localisation and indigenisation of solar panels and their allied equipment in the country to save a huge outflow of foreign exchange.
The initial draft prepared by the EDB also suggested that the roof-top solar generation system needs to be encouraged and incentivised as it is the cheapest source of electricity generation.
It has been said that local manufacturing of solar panels and allied equipment will invite investments and provide skilled job opportunities for Pakistani technicians.
The power sector of the country has a structural issue as energy mix is 40 per cent based on indigenous resources while 60pc comprises imported oil fuel.
The government has planned to increase local share to 90pc by 2030, out of which the targets set for renewable energy are 20–30pc, which is currently around only 1.4pc of the total installed capacity.