Bahawalpur to have $1.5bn world’s largest solar power plant

Published April 23, 2015
“The 900MW solar project launched in Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur is the largest solar power project in the world,”— AFP/file
“The 900MW solar project launched in Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur is the largest solar power project in the world,”— AFP/file

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has awarded $1.5 billion contract for its largest solar power project of 900MW in Bahawalpur to a Chinese company which has the biggest solar power plant of only 170MW back home.

After concluding a final round of meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif on Wednesday, Zonergy Company Ltd President Yu Yong told journalists that his company had a total portfolio of 1,200MW of solar plants in China and the largest one was 170MW plant in Xinjiang.

He said the company had an association of over 17 years with Pakistan. Previously, it had been engaged in telecommunication sector through another company ZTE since 1998.

Read: Pakistan plans huge desert solar park to fight energy crisis

He explained that Zonergy was not a subsidiary of the ZTE, but one of the largest shareholders in the ZTE was also the largest shareholder in Zonergy.

Mr Yong said there was a need to address concerns regarding Pakistan’s national grid’s conversion system to accommodate fluctuating renewable energy sources.

“The 900MW solar project launched in Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power Park in Bahawalpur is the largest solar power project in the world,” he said.

Najeed Sadiq, a Zonergy director, said the first 50MW unit would be brought into production on Aug 14 this year, to be followed by another 250MW on Dec 25, to coincide with the anniversary of the father of the nation, and then 100MW would be added every month. He said the full 900MW capacity would be available by the end of next year.

He said the China Exim Bank and China Development Bank had provided funds for the project.

Mr Yong said solar power generation has become a global focus because “it is clean, renewable and safe”.

Around 1.271bn KWh of electricity is expected to be generated annually from the solar power station, which would cover a total area of 4,500 acres. It is also expected to create at least 3,300 jobs.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2015

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