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KP people find solace in solar energy


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— File Photo
— File Photo

PESHAWAR: The replacement of conventional streetlights with the solar ones in two localities of Peshawar Cantonment has not only saved money but also ensured smooth flow of power on the roads and for household consumption.

Following remarkable reduction in the electricity bill, the Peshawar Cantonment Board has decided to replace about 4,000 streetlights in the garrison area with the solar ones to save a hefty amount on the account of power charges.

The Peshawar Cantonment Board has recently installed 170 solar units, consisting of 340 streetlights, on the Mall Road and Khalid Bin Walid Park in the cantonment. According to Habibullah, an electrical engineer at the cantonment board, the total cost of the units installed on Mall Road and Khalid Bin Walid Park is Rs10 million. The replacement of the entire conventional streetlights, energised by the national grid system, required a huge investment, he added.

Habibullah said that the cost of the conventional streetlight per unit was about Rs80,000 while price of the solar one comprising pole, panel and two high efficiency energy saver bulbs was up to Rs180,000.

Given the cost-effectiveness of the solar system, he said, the board had planned to replace conventional streetlights in two more localities in cantonment area within the next few weeks.

“The board has spent Rs10 million on the installation of 170 solar units, but it will recover this amount within one year,” he said. The power consumers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas are converting to solar means of energy generation because of extensive loadshedding and hike in the prices of electricity.

Several outlets have been set up in big and small cities and even in villages where solar energy equipment are available. The consumers in rural areas have installed solar panels on rooftops to energise their homes and business outlets. The farmers are also running their tubewells through solar energy to irrigate their fields.

Habibullah said that installing solar system initially required a huge investment because solar panels and other equipment were expensive as compared to the conventional lighting system. Therefore, he said, most of the people could not afford the initial cost owing to their meagre resources.

In the villages on the outskirts of Peshawar, the consumers, fed up with extensive power outages and soaring cost of electricity, have found solace in the solar system.

In many areas, people have installed solar panels to light up the streets and mosques to escape the hide and seek of the electricity. The markets in Peshawar are now replete with huge stock of the solar panels owing to its popularity among the people.

The farmers in Mardan, Charsadda and Nowshera have installed several panels to run their tubewells for irrigation purposes. Those, who have opted to go for the new technology, argue that they have done one-time big investment and are now reaping the fruits because this has ensured smooth supply of water to their fields which has increased their agricultural productivity as well as saved their time.

The system was available in the market from the past five years but endless power breakdowns and its skyrocketing price have compelled people to switch to solar system and get rid of frequent electricity outages.

Comments (9) Closed

Raza Jul 12, 2013 12:54pm

Finally some good news coming out of Pakistan! Thank you God!

Aisha Jul 12, 2013 01:43pm

Well done PTI. These are the sort of implementations we need if we want to bring about solutions to problems. The cost may be very high initially but it will prove cost effective eventually. Countries with little sunshine are making use of it and we with loads of sunshine, our politicians are busy taking out revenges against each other and doing everything except using their brains for implementing such projects. I just hope that PTI really does the job that no party has done yet by coming up with real solutions.

Murtaza Jul 12, 2013 03:03pm

@Aisha: I don't think the report ever mentioned that PTI had any role in it....

MASHMAN Jul 12, 2013 09:11pm

The government should provide Solar panels to consumers and could then pay them royalty for the power generated by these Solar panels. This type of program could lead to a revolution in renewable energy power generation and go a long way in solving our energy crises.

Katlang Ten Jul 12, 2013 10:11pm

@Raza: I was a young businessman, had just finished Education at a one of the top Universities in the US, made a grave mistake of helping Pakistan in the Energy sector by introducing Solar Energy, this was summer of 1981, my partner was the nephew of a former Chief Minister, yet I was too stupid to follow the law of the land, I was told by the top man in Wapda that Solar Energy had NO future in Pakistan, he could not see it coming, but I could see it coming, now people of Pakistan are getting it many folds, and I am very happy to see the misery thrusted upon the Pakistani people, because I lost every penny including my house trying to get this project off the ground, as you sow , so shall you REAP.

imran Jul 12, 2013 11:41pm

This has nothing yo do with PTI. Its a cantonment board run under military not provincial government

Khota Jul 13, 2013 07:24am

@Aisha: Well done PTI - You did it, you did it in a back date - the date even when you were not in power. Only PTI can do that.

malik Jul 13, 2013 08:40am

Good move but I am sure pretty soon Kochas will be taking them out to install them at their homes.

Khawar T khyam Jul 13, 2013 10:19am

That is a very good sign. I hope other provinces will also follow these examples. Definitely if middle class can afford generators then they can afford solar panels also. Which are having very low maintenance. It is right time that some one from Pakistan should start manufacturing solar panels. It is not a high tech science but it need investment. Lot of companies are going bankrupt in China and USA. Some one should buy those companies and bring this technology to Pakistan. It will open a new avenue for employments. I am wondering why engineering universities in Pakistan are not concentrating on alternate methods of generating electricity.