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KP people find solace in solar energy

July 12, 2013
— 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.