THIS is apropos of Riaz Akbar’s letter ‘Renewable energy’ (March 19). The writer is right when he says that we cannot gain by opting for solar energy unless we establish manufacturing facilities for solar equipment in our own country.
We should first import solar panels (ready-made) and then, in cooperation with a renowned foreign company, establish facilities for production of the same locally. China would be a better option in this regard as it is much cheaper than Europe and the US.
A panel comprises about 100 to 200 cells depending upon power which is required to be generated through these cells. These cells, which are quite costly, will initially have to be imported. But the real impact will only be made when we start manufacturing these cells also in Pakistan. As these cells would be required in millions if we go for a solar option in a big way, we’ll have to produce them locally.
To manufacture solar cells, two types of raw materials are required: quartz and silica. Quartz is available in northern areas of our country. Some people there are raising walls of their houses utilising this raw material in place of bricks, without knowing its real worth. The other raw material, silica, is available in our rivers and being utilised by our bulb-manufacturing factories.
As regards manpower, thousands and thousands of our educated young, men and women are roaming around without jobs.
They possess diplomas and degrees in various engineering disciplines like electronics, mechanical and electrical engineering.
People with these qualifications would be required to be deployed in manufacturing facilities.
In foreign countries, people working on such projects are being paid $45-$50 an hour. To us, such manpower would be available at the rate of $3 an hour only, which comes to about Rs72,000 a month.
To achieve this end, the only requirement is a will and commitment at the highest level of the government.
AZFAR KHAN Rawalpindi