Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Entrance to Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park - Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.
Entrance to Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park - Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.

Some 400,000 solar panels, spread over 200 hectares of flat desert, glare defiantly at the sun at what is known as the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park (QASP) in Cholistan Desert, Punjab, named after Pakistan’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

The 100MW photovoltaic cells (PV) solar farm was built by Chinese company Xinjiang SunOasis in just three months, and started selling electricity to the national grid in August.

This is the first energy project under the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a key part of China’s ‘new silk road’, linking the port at Gwadar in southern Pakistan with Kashgar in China’s western region of Xinjiang.

The 100MW plant is the pilot stage of a more ambitious plan to build the world’s largest solar farm. Once completed in 2017, the site could have capacity of 5.2 million PV cells producing as much as 1,000MW of electricity – enough to power about 320,000 households. Construction of the next stage is already underway, led by another Chinese company Zonergy.

One of the main access roads inside QASP - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.
One of the main access roads inside QASP - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.

Eighteen months ago, the site was nothing more than wilderness. Now a mini city has emerged in the middle of the desert, with over 2,000 workers accompanied by heavy machinery, power transmission lines, blocks of buildings, water pipes and pylons.

Reducing emissions, providing livelihoods

The Cholistan desert is an ideal spot for solar power, said Muhammad Hassan Askari, operating manager of the solar park. The area gets 13 hours of sunlight every day while the huge expanse of flat desert is ideal for a large commercial project like this one.

The big advantage of solar power, he said, is that a large park can be completed faster than thermal or hydropower projects, which take much longer and require a lot of maintenance.

The solar park will also shrink Pakistan’s carbon footprint, said Najam Ahmed Shah, the chief executive officer of QASP, displacing about 57,500 tonnes of coal burn and reducing emissions by 90,750 tonnes every year.

An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.
An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.

Pakistan aims to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons, especially imported coal, oil and gas, to around 60 per cent by 2025 from the present 87pc. The country has a target to produce 10pc of its total energy mix from renewable sources (excluding hydro-power, which already constitutes 15pc of the total energy mix). The current generation from renewable energy is around 1-2pc.

While Pakistan contributes less than 1pc to global Green House Gas (GHG) output, the country’s carbon emissions are growing by 3.9pc a year. By 2020 it will spew out 650 million tonnes of Co2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) if the current trend continues, said climatologist Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, the UN secretary general’s special advisor for Asia with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).

The solar park will also eventually generate 15,000 to 33,000 jobs for locals and attract investment to the region.

Unprecedented scale

Some experts worry the project is too ambitious. Former director general of WWF-Pakistan Ali Hassan Habib, who now runs a company providing rooftop solar solutions, welcomed the project but was uneasy about the government “jumping into untested scale”. The plant will be double the size of the existing largest solar PV generating facilities worldwide, he said.

“It may have been better to build the equivalent remaining 900MW closer to where electricity is consumed — on say the rooftops of large parking lots — rather than installing it in remote locations,” he said.

Environmental impact of clean energy

Because solar energy is still finding a foothold in the energy mix and technologies are evolving, not enough is known about the park’s impact on the environment and natural resources.

An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.
An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.

Some negative impacts have already become apparent. For example, solar power consumes lots of water. PV panels may require little maintenance, according to QASP, but they need to be kept squeaky clean. An estimated one litre of water is used to clean each panel. Water consumed to clean the eventual 5.2 million panels built will be colossal for a country that is fast becoming water stressed. Currently, 30 people take 10 to 15 days to clean the 400,000 cells.

“This year we’ve been very lucky as there have been unprecedented rains and so panels were cleaned automatically,” said Askari, who said they were looking for more efficient ways to clean panels.

At the same time, increasing human activity will disturb the arid region’s rich biodiversity and wildlife, such as the Indian gazelle, caracal cat and houbara bustard.

The construction of a new road network and supporting commercial activities associated with large solar PV projects do leave a substantial “footprint” on the land, agreed Habib.

Shah justified the project, saying it was built on “uninhabited” “waste” land. “An Initial Environmental Examination was carried out and we got a nod from the Environment Protection Department before embarking upon the project,” he explained.

To offset any negative impact, Habib suggested the government set up an “environment and social fund”.

Environmentalists are also concerned about the fate of the millions of PV panels which will wear out within 25 years. The panels will have to be recycled to extract the silicon used to make them, and then replaced.

Pakistan’s energy crisis

Pakistan has been in the grip of severe energy shortages for many years with some rural areas left without power for up to 20 hours a day. There has been little local or foreign investment in the industrial sector because of the extensive power cuts, and a number of factories have had to close down.

An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.
An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.

With an installed electricity generation capacity of 22,797MW, the country’s total production stands at just 14,000MW. In recent years, demand has risen to 19,000MW.

While the 1,000MW of solar energy will help ease energy constraints, Askari said government investment in several other hydropower and coal projects should also help alleviate power shortages.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised power cuts would end by 2018 at the inauguration ceremony of 100MW solar project in May, earlier this year.

Not everyone is happy

But some critics say it is the investors who will get rich from the solar project, while consumers will have to pay more in the long run.

“Hydropower can produce energy for less than half the price of solar and about the same as wind so why a fixation on solar?” said an Islamabad-based energy expert working with the government, who spoke to on the condition of anonymity.

He is sceptical of solar for a number of reasons.

First, the solar farm will actually produce far less than the much touted 1,000MW of electricity. “On average, solar power plants deliver only about 20pc of installed capacity, and the peak production is during the day, while the peak demand is in the evening when the plant does not produce anything,” the expert pointed out.

Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park - Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.
Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park - Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.

Alternative arrangements have to be made to draw upon hydro or thermal sources at an “extra cost”. But the project’s owners say the 100MW solar plant could produce near to capacity at 85MW at its peak.

Second, solar energy is more expensive than other energy sources. QASP claims it is selling solar power to the grid at $0.14 per unit. Sources within the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) say they have signed a deal to buy electricity at $0.24 per unit, which will drop later to perhaps $0.17 per unit after a period of seven years when loans are paid off. In either case, this price is far higher than the $0.07 for hydropower, $0.11 for fuel oil and $0.12 for imported LNG.

“And these figures are only for generation; another 25pc must be added to it for cost of delivery to be borne by the consumer, accounting for losses and theft,” he pointed out.

“The financial justification for solar was approved when oil prices were at $110 a barrel,” he said, lamenting that the government refused to heed to advice that oil prices would drop.

Others argue that solar prices will fall over time, making it competitive. Vaqar Ahmed, deputy executive director at the Islamabad-based think tank, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, said: “For every new technology the fixed costs are higher in the initial years and diminish over time as economies of scale are achieved.” And learning from China, efficiency will rise and prices for solar cells will continue to fall, he said.

Wind could be a much bigger contributor to Pakistan’s energy need, said WWF’s Habib, given its potential of 120,000MW. “Unlike solar, wind energy maintains production at night,” he pointed out.

Political risks

With just a little over two years left in his term, the success of the solar project is important for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“The project has huge political implications for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N),” said Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) M Hassan Malik, who is responsible for the security arrangements of the entire QASP area.

An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.
An aerial view of QASP. - Photo courtesy Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Pvt) Ltd.

”Through this project the government also wants to send out the message to the outside world that it has the capacity to undertake mega projects and will provide foolproof security to investors.”

Working in an area known as a hotbed of criminals and extremists, Malik’s job is challenging. “Not only is the park a national asset, we have foreign nationals working at the plant, so the sensitivity is two-fold,” he said.

There are 800 to 900 men guarding the site, where around 400 Chinese workers and over 2,000 labourers work at any given time.

Cultural shock

For Alexander Halbich, a German engineer who has been at the park for over a year, getting used to “gun-toting” security men following him around was most disconcerting aspect of his new job. “The food is good, the people are extremely hospitable and we do go out to the city once in a while tailed by armed guards, but there is little to do after dark,” he added.

“There isn’t much to do in the evenings,” agreed Muhammad Hasan Askari, who heads the technical team. Hailing from Lahore, he keeps himself busy with work and looks forward to going home at the weekends.

Foreign workers get to go home less often. “I go every three months for ten days or more,” said Zhang Ting, a young Chinese engineer. “I’m quite ready to go home by two months but when I do go back, I miss Pakistan and the work,” she added.

Ting had to deal with a language barrier and hostile weather when she arrived to work at the site. The Chinese engineer also had to adjust to a “whole new work culture”.

“We resolved the issue by getting more Pakistanis on our design team to crease out the differences and conflicts,” she said.

View of the infrastructure developed alogside the solar park to connect it to the national grid. -Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.
View of the infrastructure developed alogside the solar park to connect it to the national grid. -Photo courtesy Zofeen T. Ebrahim.

This article was originally published on The Third Pole and has been reproduced with permission.

Comments (243) Closed

Punjabi Sep 08, 2015 05:15pm

Marvel of human development. Pakistan on the right path to prosperity.

Logic Sep 08, 2015 05:16pm

Very good news. This will help in the economic development of Pakistan

Energy Sep 08, 2015 05:20pm

As mentioned in the news items the electricity agreement is signed at 24 cents per kWh not 14 cents as being propagated. The international price of solar power is as low as 5.84 cents the agreement signed by Dubai Water & Electricity Authority this year, so where the difference of more than 18 cents per kWh has gone, in whose pockets?

Naz Sep 08, 2015 05:22pm

Good insights. And it does raise some Pros and Cons of this approach. It would have been wise for govt to do a proper technical evaluation / feasibility studies. Otherwise China will keep using Pakistan as an experimental site with money spent under silk road MOU more for China's own benefits.

kaleem Sep 08, 2015 05:27pm

Let's hope it doesn't turn out to be another Nandi Pur.

bil_va Sep 08, 2015 05:27pm

Excellent article with numbers depicting the pros and cons of QASP. One big question arises, the cost of Hydro is .07$ per unit and QASP is generating at .17$, why not federal Govt is investing in hydro, when already 40,000 MW potential is available in KPK. I smell provincialism at this very bad decision.

bil_va Sep 08, 2015 05:28pm

Excellent article with numbers depicting the pros and cons of QASP. One big question arises, the cost of Hydro is .07$ per unit and QASP is generating at .17$, why not federal Govt is investing in hydro, when already 40,000 MW potential is available in KPK. I smell provincialism at this very bad decision.

Salman Khan Sep 08, 2015 05:37pm

Amazing :) Lots of love to my Country :>

Ali Sep 08, 2015 05:39pm

Excellent! Great to see some progress.

Ahmed Sep 08, 2015 05:41pm

Like a lion, Nawaz sharif.

Dhruv Sep 08, 2015 05:45pm

What a detailed description regarding pros and cons of Solar Power! I believe this article can give everyone an idea about whether Solar Power is the future or shall we look at other alternatives. But this is the kind of news articles I look for and so visit

Faras Khan Sep 08, 2015 05:45pm

S0 who owns this Park and how was it financed. On the backs of the Pakistani people to make the Nawaz Sharif and his cronies.

Sandhu Sep 08, 2015 05:47pm

Good for pakistan. Pak is emerging and inshallah will rise once again despite of all odds we were witness of in past.

Rao Sep 08, 2015 05:54pm

I really like to applaud Pakistan govt. for this project. These projects are really do contribute to the development of the country. Solar engineering projects are really low technology ones and does not need highly trained personnel as in nuclear stations.

I hope Pakistan will share their experience with neighbouring countries too.

One advantage of this project is its panels can be replaced by high efficiency units when available at a future date.


asim khan Sep 08, 2015 05:55pm

I think rather than making enormous parks. An efficient solar panel system should be implemented to individual households and encourage the people to use solar energy with tax break incentive or other incentive schemes

Shahid Ejaz Sep 08, 2015 05:57pm

An observation of a layman... the solar panels should have been erected on concrete foundation rather than on plain mud. What if rain and thunderstorm hits that area? A food for thought....

sky Sep 08, 2015 05:58pm

billions of corruption in this project ... i guess 10 times inaugurated..

Glowing Pakistan Sep 08, 2015 05:58pm

Major electricity projects are underway in all provinces. 2×1100 MW through nuclear power in Karachi, 950 MW neelum Jhelum in Ajk. dasu dam ist part of 2200 MW in kp munda dam in Baluchistan , 1100 MW in sahiwal Punjab, some 1000 megawatt through coal in sindh. and many more.Thanks NS.

PShailendra Sep 08, 2015 06:00pm

Incredible... you made my day. I hope India and Pakistan can compete on such technological fonts than armaments. People of the subcontinent need clean energy.

Glowing Pakistan Sep 08, 2015 06:01pm

Major electricity projects are underway in all provinces. 2×1100 MW through nuclear power in Karachi, 950 MW neelum Jhelum in Ajk. dasu dam ist part of 2200 MW in kp munda dam in Baluchistan , 1100 MW in sahiwal Punjab, some 1000 megawatt through coal in sindh. and many more.Thanks NS.

Harmony-1 Sep 08, 2015 06:02pm

Way to go - clean energy!

Mishra Sep 08, 2015 06:04pm

beautiful thing to do for future. All the best to Pakistan. i hope India also start investing more in clean energy.

Anup Sep 08, 2015 06:09pm

A wonderful attempt for a bright, clean future. All the best.

someone Sep 08, 2015 06:11pm

@Mishra Hmm...I think you have no clue how much solar energy India generates.

John B Sep 08, 2015 06:13pm

Bye bye environment and wildlife

arif Sep 08, 2015 06:14pm

I can smell corruption here...Pakistan has got a very big potential for hydro power generation which provides cheapest and environmentally safe energy...but still government is insisting on solar power and coal sources for some unknown reasons..These unknown reasons are very known to every Pakistani..

ashar Sep 08, 2015 06:14pm

Good unbiased info. Keep up the good work.

With due respect Sep 08, 2015 06:14pm

Congrats NS,every success to CPEC,more Solar Parks in each province.

MY Sep 08, 2015 06:24pm

@Rao Appreciated your comment and suggestion!!

Observer Sep 08, 2015 06:26pm

With stats described by energy expert critics raises some questions.

  • Can we afford such projects ?
  • Wont it be better to use oter sources to produce electricitu, like hydro power ?
  • What about the maintenance cost, wont it add to the total cost per unit ?
idreesbari Sep 08, 2015 06:29pm

First thing this good that this govt is doing some thing compare to PPP. If PPP has started these project than nowadays our country will be free from load shedding. My concern is why the govt can fallow the chines model of small dam. At least one by one town/city will be free from load shedding. I don't know why they are investing all the money on one place.

Ustaad Sep 08, 2015 06:30pm

@bil_va I believe KPK govt has enough money to produce the electricity themselves, I am still waiting for 300 Dams to start producing electricity in KPK.

MAlvi Sep 08, 2015 06:36pm

Sounds like another fairyland. I don't believe any thing is coming out of it. The government knowingly makes big deceptive claims.

What is happening on: 1) Nandipur, 2) large mineral and oil discoveries near Chiniot, 3) economic corridor. Pak governments have no shame.

Taimoor Khan Sep 08, 2015 06:37pm

How did they manage to install this infrastructure in just three months? Must be some colossal effort.

Canada Sep 08, 2015 06:41pm

If peak energy consumption is in the evening but peak solar energy is produced during the day why not rely on solar energy as the main energy producer during the day? Besides its not like PK has an energy surplus they are constantly in a defecit so I don't think the solar energy produced during the day would go to "waste"

Nisar Sep 08, 2015 06:45pm

Though not a fan of NS, I have to say that he is moving ahead with certain projects regardless of what the environment around him is dictating, the way i see it is, he has already passed with the PPP government did in the previous 5 years. I know for a fact that in India and Bangladesh (student i met at an energy conference in London), this solar project is being used as a case study in some Think Tanks. This is a good sign, that something positive is being used in a positive way. Keep up the good work, with the security situation improving, and the GDP also rising, its a matter of time that Pak will be considered a favourable destination for FDI. Peace.

asgher Sep 08, 2015 06:48pm

Our Pride of the nation Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan can produce electricity from Atomic Power Houses if allowed. Why we have such advance nuclear technology and only use of it is making weapons.

But any project that helps problems of Pakistan is welcomed! Well done boys!

M. Saeed Awan Sep 08, 2015 06:52pm

Long live China and Nawaz Sharif

Khalil-USA Sep 08, 2015 06:54pm

Excellent Project! We need more project similar to this in the country at locations close to industrail zones to boost up the power supply. Industry has already suffered a lot so lets think beyond provincialism and think of Pakistan.

Muhammad Rasool Sep 08, 2015 06:56pm

@bil_va The answer is simple. The Chinese wanted it this way. They are experimenting at the cost of the loan given to Pakistan. If the scheme works everyone is happy if not, Chinese have made their money from Pakistani taxpayers.

Z Sep 08, 2015 06:59pm

“Hydropower can produce energy for less than half the price of solar and about the same as wind so why a fixation on solar?”

So true.

Ghaznavi Sep 08, 2015 07:04pm

@bil_va "the cost of Hydro is .07$ per unit and QASP is generating at .17$, why not federal Govt is investing in hydro" Ask this question to the foreign paid politicians objecting the kala Bagh dam. This is next best thing then doing nothing.

Z Sep 08, 2015 07:06pm

@Taimoor Khan "How did they manage to install this infrastructure in just three months? Must be some colossal effort."

They hardly built any thing, except some earth work and supplying water etc. It is hardly like getting one phase of Bahra town ready. so it is do able.

Rest is all eraction of improted frams (could b easily made locally) and panels, wiring and cabling is all imported too.

Shan Sep 08, 2015 07:06pm

Park is awesome however the best part was how transparently Nawaz Government has implemented these mega projects with good financial transparency and high level of business ethics without any hint of corruption. KPK govt. can learn so much from Nawaz Government and can reduce corruption there too. Good work!

Manohar Sep 08, 2015 07:08pm

It is such a great positive/constructive news from Pakistan. It is indeed a great achievement and my hearty congratulations to the people of Pakistan. Wish you all many more development projects giving energy, providing employment and moving forward to a stable and prosperous Pakistan.

Umair Sep 08, 2015 07:10pm

People criticizing the project complaining about the other sources of energy should keep in mind that generating hydropower is not an easy job. It takes about 5-10 years to initiate and complete a dam. So, we will have to look for all the sources of alternative energy such as; 1. solar energy 2. nuclear energy 3. hydropower 4. biofuels All such projects will pay us back in the long run. Besides, 2-3 bigger hydropower and nuclear projects are underway. So, have patience plz.

Akram Sep 08, 2015 07:10pm

@Observer the state is building dams, but we cannot afford to build multiple dams simultaneously. Pakistan can only afford one major dam at a time and even that includes foreign money borrowed.

khan1 Sep 08, 2015 07:15pm

Another gimick - pmln likes projects like these, world's biggest park, yellow cab, metros: Such projects looks great for election winning and it does fool a lot of people. Will it have any impact on the bottom line? Big No. Energy from solar is one of the most expensive - wealthy nations invest in it from R&D perspective, not to give electricity to commoners. Anyway this may win few fools for PMLN. Thanks

Ho Sep 08, 2015 07:19pm

Silliest idea . This is not an economically viable idea for the country. You are paying for security guards round the clock, who pays salary for Chinese engineers? Maintainance cost over a period of time would be double than hydro. China is not investing here but earning. Wake up

Ocean Apart Sep 08, 2015 07:26pm

Excellent... if CPEC is providing such economic development wonder why is Indian against CPEC ?

Shujaat Khan Sep 08, 2015 07:33pm

Jobs , jobs , jobs that's the good news. Good to see Pakistan heading towards clean energy and hope one day every small house or hut will have it's own energy source. Congratulations for taking the first baby step.

Muhammad Sep 08, 2015 07:34pm


The price per kWh is mentioned as 24 cents per kilowatt that means Rs 25 in today's exchange rate, is it real price? What is international benchmark?

Obaid K2 Sep 08, 2015 07:36pm

In Pakistan there is Population Growth Vs Energy Growth

Hassan Sep 08, 2015 07:39pm

Most creative way to waste money on such technology with ridiculously low efficiency and high long run cost.

kazmi Sep 08, 2015 07:46pm

I like the name of the plant, this project is perhaps more of a statement than cost effectiveness.

rj Sep 08, 2015 07:52pm

Nice article, so detailed . I never know about the amount of water consumed for such a green energy. Water shortage is also fast becoming a problem in india as well , and with one of the highest capacity of installed solar energy water conservation is matter of concern as well. May be, wind power will be a more viable option against solar power for both india as well as pakistan.

Muhammad Sep 08, 2015 07:52pm

Very Weldone Sher e Punjab Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

abdul rahim Sep 08, 2015 07:53pm

@bil_va .some time rise above party politic and think about Pakistan, plz.

Muhammad Sep 08, 2015 07:56pm

@Faras Khan can you just stop being negative?

Peace Monger Sep 08, 2015 07:57pm

Good to hear some news of prosperity and progress...otherwise all the negative news all around...crime/hanging/killings...May this trends becomes a regular affair in Pakistan..

faridullah Sep 08, 2015 07:57pm

China is Pakistan's real friend who want to develop its economy and standard of living. Pakistanis should appreciate that.

Thinking Sep 08, 2015 07:59pm

@Shan I am afraid, the cost of solar is three times than that produced world over. Even in India, the solar generates are as low as Rs. 5 per unit. Smelling a very big racket....

Muhammad Sep 08, 2015 08:05pm

@Ho Well I guess every investor intends to earn otherwise why would they invest? No? Get a life mate

sidney Sep 08, 2015 08:08pm

Bravo Pakistan. Problems with Solar energy are well known. But, generating power from Sunlight, which is in abundance in Punjab, makes sense. Congrats to the Sharif Govt

kashmira Sep 08, 2015 08:08pm

800 to 900 guards for 20MW power plant (100MW peak and 0.2 average load factor)? Unbelievable. Who is paying for this? Electricity company or government? If government is paying, then the cost should be added to the already expensive $0.14/unit cost.

India recently accepted proposal for Rs 5/unit which comes out to $0.07-$0.08/unit. Even its old plants are supplying electricity at $0.012/unit.

AB Sep 08, 2015 08:13pm

More research was needed for the article. Tariff petitions of all power projects are available online on NEPRA,so writer cud have quoted that instead of giving 2 different versions.

AB Sep 08, 2015 08:21pm

More research could have been done on this article. Tariff petitions are available for all power projects on NEPRA website, writer cud have quoted the actual version instead of giving point of views of two different parties. Similarly, research on peak power output is also widely available online. 20% is efficiency of the module, not peak output. Peak output is around 85-90% of installed capacity. Moreover, as per writers own estimate, complete project of 1000 MW should take 2000 hectares of desert land, now that much area is not even peanuts when compared to the size of desert. Arguing that it will have impact on wildlife is very much a joke.

M.Saeed Sep 08, 2015 08:21pm

Idiotic monstrosity! Cholistan is an ideal place for installing Solar Updraft Tower electricity turbines with integral part of green house farming for the night power generation. It is almost 1/3rd the cost and multipurpose engineering that produces electricity, water and green-house farming.

Fais Sep 08, 2015 08:24pm

They suppose to install solar panels on each houses as they do in europe, this is a waste and it will prove in coming years.

Indian guy Sep 08, 2015 08:25pm

Congrats! Step in right direction for growth and prosperity!

K Sep 08, 2015 08:28pm

Well Brilliant Piece covering all the aspects. I just wish our Govt gives as much attention to details as the article has...With many raised concerns, I tend to agree that Solar may not be as good as we think. Like cleaning issue, Silicon waste management, requiring large area and eliminating any vegetation/forests for this purpose can be a big No. Now the options to obtain clean energy is back to Hydral & Wind..

Kamal Sep 08, 2015 08:40pm

A great article. But rather than worrying about wild cats, we should worry about 200 million Pakistanis who are suffering from electricity

It'd been better if Author would provide more positive feedback in solar power's future role for our economic progress. Pakistan's private sector never took any initiative in this space. As a divided nation, we don't want to build more dams. So kudos to present govt for taking steps in this direction. Let's try to appreciate the good things happening around us.

Sane voice Sep 08, 2015 08:48pm

@AB Peak out put of 85% capacity is a totally wrong figure . Will at the most generate average 5.5 units / day for per KW capacity . Nevertheless The tariff being charged is 3 times the bid price , The lowest Bid received by Madhya Pradesh state board a month back for 0.075 USd / unit for Solar ( 5 Inr / unit ) . Yes there was a time was it was 10 INR/ 12 INR , but gone are those days . So some one is making a kill at these prices.

EuroStar77 Sep 08, 2015 08:52pm
  1. It is too risky to put such a park so close to the Indian border region.
  2. PM signed a billion dollar solar power deal in Norway. Norway is expensive.
  3. Kalabagh Dam is the only large scale dam which can truley address the needs of Pakistan but our polititians are too slow!!
ASAD IQBAL Sep 08, 2015 09:04pm

way to go !!

Dave Sep 08, 2015 09:12pm

Fantastic News!! Congratulations from the other side of the border.

khanm Sep 08, 2015 09:16pm

In my humble opinion we are looking energy at the wrong places.who knows what is behind this but hydro is still the cheepest source of energy..wish if we could keep our national interest first than our personel or provincial interest

Robu Sep 08, 2015 09:17pm

Use em Nuke to create Electricity

Gautham Sep 08, 2015 09:36pm

Fantastic development! There are only a few countries left where the oil lobby doesn't care to interfere in alternate sources of energy. Well done and good luck with the mega solar project on the anvil. The execution experience of such large projects is very critical to improve our own infra by ourselves.

zaheer khan Sep 08, 2015 09:38pm

Hope for success!

Gautham Sep 08, 2015 09:43pm

@Canada : One can always schedule the grid to receive energy from the solar sources in the day time and generate coal/hydro in the nights. Hydro can be produced all times of the day, so you would be saving water (whatever you could) because of the solar based offset during the mornings. Isn't it that simple or am I missing something?

saeeds Sep 08, 2015 09:43pm

Are the reusing water again or let it drain in the sand .

Karachi Karachi Sep 08, 2015 09:45pm

Agree that there are several reasons not to do it but there are couple of reasons to do it now 1) no hydro projects is on the horizon 2) this is environmental friendly, and the bonus - few hospitals, factories and houses will get electricity from them which is better than none at all. Why can't we do things in parallel? Let's plan hydro, thermal and wind while this is being worked on. Lets keep a check on the cost and management of this site.

Cyrus Sep 08, 2015 09:46pm

A Win - Win - Win for Pakistan, China and the workers. China is the leading producer of solar panels.

ashutosh mishra Sep 08, 2015 09:54pm

Very impressive indeed !! Way to go for us as well here in India...

Isra Sep 08, 2015 09:55pm

By any means we need to have Kala Bagh Dam built in the larger interest of the nation. Anyone opposing or causing to delay it, is not sincere to the country. Period.

Not enemy Sep 08, 2015 09:58pm

Great News. Right way to go. Congratulations Pakistan

Mubbashir Ali Sep 08, 2015 10:20pm

v good development. However, investment to be done on HYDRO power sector because a) Huge potential b) Hydro power plants are more flexible in operation as compare to any other power plant due to inherent storage characteristic.

Kiran Sep 08, 2015 10:24pm

Wonderful initiative...much appreciated... but cost/unit and efficiency claimed are really something to be concerned about. There is no way to get efficiency at 85%. Its a bogus promise from the company. One more thing is Pakistan could have manufacture these equipments instead of importing from China. Anyway its a good start in achieving energy security of the state. Good wishes from India

rahul Sep 08, 2015 10:25pm

I did not read the whole article, but this is definitely a big step forward. I must commend the Pak and Chinese authorities who made this happen.

Ali Gohar Sep 08, 2015 10:26pm

Why doesn't the government encourage the private sector to invest in high efficiency solar panels that can be provided to private house holds who may, if they have surplus electricity, sell the same to WAPDA. We have a similar arrangement in Canada.

jamal Sep 08, 2015 10:29pm

More than 5 million PV cells to generate 1000 MWs. That's profligacy

unfairbills Sep 08, 2015 10:30pm

I hardly use any electricity only fans and tv and my bill monthly is 9,000 rs? only 3 people in house who are usually out.Since government started electronic meters, bills can't be challenged and government can do whatever they like. Do they have special charges if you live in posh areas?Last year, same bill used to be 3,000. Did government reduce charges or increase this year?

SOS Sep 08, 2015 10:30pm

Alternative source of energy is a must. Nowadays oil prices are low because Middle East using as a leverage it is artificial. As far as hydro, as most people commented earlier, I guess the reason is people on some places have some reservation on that project. It is understandable so now only thing left is solar or wind. Go for clean energy.

Muhammad Sep 08, 2015 10:33pm

@Glowing Pakistan

All in papers, what about Nandipur?

Sierrabrave Sep 08, 2015 10:34pm

China has a huge supply surplus of photovoltaic panels, kind of Pakistan to allow them to be dumped on its soil . A friend in need is a friend indeed.

mohammed Aziz Sep 08, 2015 10:42pm

Pakistan is definetly smarter than India which is going after nuclear plant plants, sold by US. The cost of 1W is higher for nuclear power plant, and there are more hazards during the plant operation, and after it's life time gets over.

R S Chakravarti Sep 08, 2015 10:46pm

@arif Surely both solar and hydro are needed. Pumped storage can play the role of batteries.

R S Chakravarti Sep 08, 2015 10:50pm

@EuroStar77 India has plenty of industries near the Pakistan border. Nothing to bother about.

Ajnabi Sep 08, 2015 10:54pm

After reading so many comments about generating Hydro energy; I think most people seem to lack little understanding of the country and its issues.

Here are few points to consider: 1 - The country is in the middle of a war which means it's a very risky environment for private sector to invest. 2- Building large dams costs billions and we have a very small population which pays direct tax through payroll or by actually filing tax papers. That means government can't generate enough revenue to start large dams. 3 - Loans from WB and IMF comes with conditions which diminishes a country’s sovereignty 4 - Building large dams takes many years which doesn’t do anything to resolve power shortage now 5 – The peak power generation from hydro dams occurs during the summer season because of high flow of water which we can say is similar to solar panels 6 – The main purpose of building dams is to store water not generate electricity that’s the secondary benefit

Ajnabi Sep 08, 2015 10:55pm

I think all of us need to think a little before we criticize the government especially around power generation. There are very options for them to do anything at this point. The reason for high power rates and interest rate is simple no one beside Chinese are willing to invest in the country and sadly includes its own people.

tan Sep 08, 2015 11:04pm

@bil_va ...yes I smell provincialism as well when a dam (kalabagh anyone?) would never be built because it is seen as benefiting Punjab. The u fortunate provincialism in our politics means it's not a good idea to rely on dam building in other provinces of there is a slight chance that Punjab may benefit more.

R S Chakravarti Sep 08, 2015 11:09pm

Rooftop panels have two advantages, as I see it. If they cover a building's roof, the need for air conditioning is reduced. Secondly, being away from the dust on the ground, they require less cleaning .

Pathetic Sep 08, 2015 11:19pm

It seems that the price that is going to be paid by Pakistanis for this sort of power is on the high side. Recently, in India the open tender for installing solar power plant and selling price has come down to nearly around 9-10 cents. It also includes taxation income that will be collected by the Govt. Also, it is to be noted that the technology used here for solar power generation is just for the daytime environment. Now-a-days, technology exist that can enable a cyclic solar plant installation that can provide almost 24 hrs. power. It includes setting up the solar panels which are used to heat specific salts which have tendency to retain heat. This heated salt goes on to make thermal electricity for nearly 24 hrs. a day thus you can have full day electric supply.

Mohd Tariq Sep 08, 2015 11:20pm

We don't know that are the terms of the loan agreement and what other hidden costs are built into it. Generally there are. Some big business makes a killing and the poor citizens cheer.

Fundamentally a good idea to diversify Energy needs but what is the "fine print". The public never knows that.

khan Sep 08, 2015 11:39pm

@Energy "As mentioned in the news items the electricity agreement is signed at 24 cents per kWh not 14 cents as being propagated. The international price of solar power is as low as 5.84 cents the agreement signed by Dubai Water & Electricity Authority this year, so where the difference of more than 18 cents per kWh has gone, in whose pockets?"

To the Chinese's pockets , obviously

Concerned Citizen of the World Sep 08, 2015 11:42pm

Awesome news, let's move to other provinces now as well. It is time to build the entire pakistan not just one province.

AbbasToronto Sep 08, 2015 11:44pm

Indeed, a giant step forward for Pakistan.

Solar energy, yet not competitive with hydal, wind, or nuclear energy, has a great potential because only a fraction of it is being exploited today.

Only 28% of solar energy can be converted by photo-voltaic cells into energy, of it the present efficiency is 18%max. That is 19/20 th of the total falling on a surface is going waste.

We have an ongoing R&D in California to prototype to capture not only the other 72% while increasing the efficiency of the photo-voltaic through thin film technology, and morphing the linear column beam construction to a curved architecture more suitable for solar heat/light capture, as well reducing cost of construction per sq. ft. and more disaster proof safer structure.

More of it inshallah soon.

Shaukat Sep 08, 2015 11:45pm

@Shahid Ejaz,how many inches rain falls in a year in Cholistan desert,I believe its about 1 or 2 inches,there should't be any need to build concrete base for millions of dollars,don't forget its desert and land will be dry within few hours after the rain.

Canada Sep 08, 2015 11:48pm

@Gautham Exactly that is what I thought.

Zafar Sep 09, 2015 12:15am

The power purchase price quoted is totally unacceptable at $0.24 cents a unit. At this price, power purchased becomes unaffordable to the consumer, and the losses incurred by distribution companies in subsidizing this price will further aggravate the ongoing circular debt problem.

Zafar Sep 09, 2015 12:19am

Solar production is also impacted by the temperature. Best production is achieved between 70-90 degree F or 20-32 degree C. The desert may not be the best place to put your solar farms. On the contrary.

ak Sep 09, 2015 12:22am

Solar PV on a large scale is a failed technology. I m not going to bore you with the many reasons for that. You can study those in detail online.

The real way with Solar PV is individual small rooftop units based on netmetering. Make that easily available to general public, in ways that even a layman can understand. That would bring the real revolution !

pakistnai Sep 09, 2015 12:22am

Any development is better than no development. However, this is probably not the wisest move. There are still cheaper and better alternatives available.

Two, more importantly, this way Pakistan is becoming a test bed for new technology. Those in need are always exploited and we can't probably escape from that position at the moment. However, the real gain would be to be able to learn and develop this technology ourselves.

One outright problem that I see with such large solar farms which I haven't seen anybody mention or address is how dusty these panels will get which would affect their light gathering ability.

Changez_Khan Sep 09, 2015 12:25am

God bless Pakistan. I am so happy to see this progress in Pakistan. Keep up the great work and let there be light in each and every house, factory around the entire Pakistan.

Muhammad Usman Habib Sep 09, 2015 12:26am

Clean but expensive energy.

SHAZIA AFRIDI Sep 09, 2015 12:27am

Even though we must take such projects in a positive light, as Pakistanis we also need to view such a mega solar park with a grain of salt in light of the contentious Metro Bus project which thus far has been a "touch and go" issue.

Let's hope this solar park will resolve some serious energy challenges in Pakistan and if so, it needs to be duplicated all over Pakistan - especially in Karachi which has the highest per capita power usage in the country.

Ajnabi Sep 09, 2015 12:36am

@pakistnai, if you noticed one of the flaws mentioned in the article is around usage of water which is used to clean the panels daily. This seems to be a common practice for large solar power plants. Even if you have solar panels installed on your rooftop cleaning them daily would help in extending the power generation capacity.

venkob Sep 09, 2015 12:44am

Definitely a big change for development prosperity of Pak. Hoping best for the people of Pak. While there are some concerns, you have to realize how lucky you are to elect Mr. Shareef as PM. He is one of the most forward thinker and a well wisher for Pak. Some one gave list of power projects that would generate electricity anywhere from 800-1200 mgw.

One suggestion though. These panels should be kept on rivers and there is lot of advantages with it ; reduce water evaporation (save up to 5%), no additional land is required, water is readily available for cleaning these panels...etc

Tamilselvan Sep 09, 2015 12:45am

Congratulations for thinking big and best wishes to have it completed on time. There will always be critics but move on. Suggest that Pakistan also concentrate on individual home lighting using solar, solar lanterns, solar cooker and water pumps to work in the desert. Mos of the solar lamps come with phone charger sockets which is very useful in villages. Please work with developing countries like India and China and cooperate. Good luck

Mir Maullana Baloch Sep 09, 2015 12:58am

good for in our blood... politics always give question on project

Adeeb Sep 09, 2015 01:01am

Way to go Pakistan, this is just a begining

Isra Sep 09, 2015 01:07am

There is a reason why Government in US encourages and provide incentives for home owners to install the Solar panels, specially in California. The idea that I personally like more is Solar panels installed over the parking lots, that also provides shade for the parked cars.

bboy Sep 09, 2015 01:15am

I am getting a sense Pakistan is a new country. As an Indian, I am proud what my fellow brothers are able to achieve if they can focus on development.

Ayesha Sep 09, 2015 01:20am


unbelievable Sep 09, 2015 01:32am

Fascinating. Pakistan's Energy Shortage has always been a Financial Shortage .. your power plants don't run at capacity because you don't have the money to secure fuel supplies. BUT .. you have the money to secure Solar Power at twice the cost of any std fuel. What's wrong with the picture?

Hope Sep 09, 2015 01:43am

@bil_va The most pathetic analysis by no basic knowledge of any THING. Solar power panels cost and installation in the beginning is higher then once production starts within 10-15 years you not have paid the costbut served hundreds of thousand of consumers. Hydro power plants are much more expensive to built but there TURNING KEY is water which we only have seasonally now and not to mention the provincial politics and red tape. Pakistan has sunlight in abundance and its free use it, its simply the way to go.

Ajay vikram Singh Sep 09, 2015 01:49am

@Naz - Good insight. nevertheless, congratulations for this project.

Dr Yahya Sep 09, 2015 01:52am

Finally becoming green!

Ajay vikram Singh Sep 09, 2015 02:07am

@SHAZIA AFRIDI - Good luck. See, success is not an event or a result. Success is a journey....where you keep your heart and mind is the right place. Its a muqammal kashmakash. You keep on trying...learning..and stay positive. Its a state of mind. Dont over-expect. Dont get depressed either. Keep trying. God speed.

Iamsam Sep 09, 2015 02:11am

I am sooo happy I hope everyone puts solar panels on their roof tops

atif khan Sep 09, 2015 02:40am

are we following UAE to make and whatever we make should be biggest or largest?? i am not against this solar park but as far as i know the photo cells have life and after some years they will lose its capacity to produce, wouldnt it be better to put those resources in windmill production by doing a joint venture with some company, and could have installed those windmill on coastal area which gives 24 hrs of air, rather than solar farm giving only electricity during day time

atif khan Sep 09, 2015 02:44am

any contingency plan during hale storm?

ANT Sep 09, 2015 02:44am

The Chinese economy is floundering and they are looking for places they can make good money.

tariq shaeikh Sep 09, 2015 03:28am

It is heartening to note that after all our government is getting on the track to solve basic problems. It is not bad to have this type of giga project. But the future is HYDROGEN cell technology. Which is in use for automobiles. Japan is very much at an advance stage to use this tech to run automobiles, we can work on that technology to produce power which will be a greener tech with out having any effect on the environment.

Asgher Ali Sep 09, 2015 03:43am

Way to go! With plenty sunlight available, solar energy can be a viable alternative. In addition to mega size projects, local governments should also think of smaller project for outlying villages ice ps, agricultural farms, remote clinics and emergency hospitals, etc. An advantage of these smaller projects is tha the design can be standardized with minimal modifications for site specifics.

WASI TAHIR CH Sep 09, 2015 04:27am

Although Pakistan should generate energy from every possible way and renewable energy is most feasible. But I am really doubtful about the feasibility of this project where 2000 workers working plus maintenance cost and and the capital expenditures like solar panels just for producing 100MW.

Kamal Gupta Sep 09, 2015 05:27am

Good to see this happening. If the solar panels have been equipped with a sun tracking system, they will produce electricity for 8 hours a day in that latitude-longitude. Should help in meeting the day time demand to some extent. But the price, whether it is $0.14 or $0.24, looks phenomenal. India has signed contracts for the same @$0.077.

Is this the Chinese way of squeezing blood out of Pakistan's economy, making it a permanently high cost one by doubling or more the cost of electricity? They are known for acting like Shylock to countries with no options.

R S Chakravarti Sep 09, 2015 05:44am

@mohammed Aziz I partly agree with you but note that India is going solar on a large scale. I have solar panels on my house. The subsidies from centre and state came to almost 50%.

Khan Sep 09, 2015 05:51am


Hydropower is dependent on rainfall, and with climate change pakistan will see less rainfall. Sun will always shine on pakistan even if it stops raining.

flipflopcarrot Sep 09, 2015 05:53am

So far Pakistan failed to provide electricity through, Mangla, Terbela, Coal, and Gas. Now they are making a solar plant which is bound to fail as well simply because our leaders are not truthful to the country and its people. We the civilians are not truthful to our country as well which is why we have such leaders leading this country. This project is just another way to pocket money and launder it to some offshore banks.

Saurabh Rajput Sep 09, 2015 06:04am

One of the finest step taken by Pakistan...Indian story is

Government-funded solar electricity in India was approximately 6.4 MW per year as of 2005. India is ranked number one in terms of solar electricity production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and 468.3 MW in 2011. As on 30 June 2015, the installed grid connected solar power capacity is 4,060.65 MW, and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 100,000 MW by 2022.

Sao Sep 09, 2015 06:06am

Best solution for Pakistan Hydropower Megadams cheap power and water for people. Kill two flies with one clap. Solar power is just good enough to show that rulers are doing something in short term. Megadams are better solutions on longitudinal term. Wind Power is like solar power when theier is no wind they produce nothing. Pakistan should go for Megadams.

acfp Sep 09, 2015 06:10am

This is how these thugs fool simple Pakistanis. They show this as great achievement. These types of projects will for sure bring prosperity but NOT to the common people of Pakistan. If these leaders are so true to the cause and to the people of Pakistan, they should openly allow people to get solar energy for their household, shops and factories and provide subsidies to people. That would not happened because that does not gain any loot for the people in power.

Bhai Jan Sep 09, 2015 06:11am

Good Luck but consider this: 1. Too much area used for too little output. 2. Expensive 3. In case of a war the target is so easy to destroy or disrupt. 4. Knowing politicians once the project is inaugurated, the maintenance goes to the dogs. 5. The staff is beefed up thru political appointments and sifarash. However we wish it success God Willing.

Bhai Jan Sep 09, 2015 06:18am

Govt. should also help homeowners to install Solar Penals on cheap prices where the cost can be paid off within 5 years. If this plan can be worked out honestly we can reduce the burden on the current grid. Let's say a million homes a year should be the target it will help the availability of more energy to those who don't or can't have solar.

O Khan Sep 09, 2015 06:20am

@M. Saeed Awan how about PAKISTAN? ?

mo Sep 09, 2015 06:32am

too imbitious but sharief brother are obssessd with BIG BIG moterways metros

they could have given this to house resident which could bring an easy access to household and operational cost could have been non . an efficient private property

china early proposed these to house hold but as zardari was looking for kick backs and now Sharif want transmit-ion line and steel factories to runs, so BIG Big

they wont spent cost effectively or on human development education or health

but wasting to much resources on to small gains

yes it looks good as it is big

the writer should have share the cost of transmit ion and operation and cost of the project

sad stories brothers of Malik riaz

Yet another Indian Sri1 Sep 09, 2015 06:42am

Very ambitious and great looking project - kudos to the civilian government to get it operational so soon. Hope this really helps ordinary people the way it is planned.

A Kashifi Sep 09, 2015 06:48am

A way for cleaning the solar cells can be by using a swarm of solar charged glass crawling robots with microfibre cleaning heads.

Naik Sep 09, 2015 06:54am

Good work Pakistan! Keep up the development and silence the haters and terrorists. Same goes for India on its haters. Lets grow in right direction, feed our poor, solve our problems and not hate each other. Best of luck! - Indian

Oil and Gas Engineer Sep 09, 2015 07:03am

@Energy you sure you're not confusing the unit of measurement of the international price 5.84 cents ($) vs 24 cents (Rupee) ? Ps - everyone within the energy sector knows Solar is expensive but we also know that the prices for the panels etc are decling at a significantly fast rate as technology progresses at an exponential rate i.e its great in the long run - also, it is predicted by 2025 most of worlds energy would be sourced from Solar - showing we're not headed in such a bad direction. The cleaning issue could be addressed by using Greenbotics, a robot-based cleaning service that is already being used in McHenry Solar Plant in Modesto, Calif. The robots use a quarter of a cup to a half-cup of water per module cleaned. All the best Pakistan.

Mir Tariq Yakub Sep 09, 2015 07:14am

Govt. must encourage indivisual to take loans, instal solar electricity and repay.

rajeev Sep 09, 2015 07:52am

Wow - great work and inspirational too. Congratulations to all Pakistani Citizens. I am sure this is the future for mankind to survive.

Lucky Star Sep 09, 2015 07:55am

@Faras Khan Negative about NAwaz withoutn facts.

Z R Khan Sep 09, 2015 08:15am

Pakistan has not done home work before going for solar park. All the fool are taking of solar park. If you can develop at acost at which Dubai is developing then only it is advisable. Any price more than 7 cents or 0.07$ is not economical. Solar panel price is goe down by 80%. So China is making money if they are selling at 0.24$.

Khan Sep 09, 2015 08:23am

Renewable energy (Solar, Wind etc) should not exceed 10% share in the energy mix considering world standards because of its high cost. Its a remarkable project and state of the art. Finally things have started shaping up for better future of our country. Good Work!

ashraf Sep 09, 2015 08:32am

Some points to consider: 1)Hydro has a 7 to 10 year implementation time (and many political hurdles). Solar is apparently 18 to 24 mos. Thanks to past inaction & debate our energy crunch is killing our industry & GDP growth now.... 2)The long term Oil prices can not be predicted by greatest of experts. For solar , wind etc the cost is known upfront.
3) One hopes the long term energy development plan takes all these into consideration. There is no perfect answer except to do what is doable

Jameel Ahmed Qureshi Sep 09, 2015 08:42am

Solar PV on a large scale is a failed technology. I m not going to bore you with the many reasons for that. You can study those in detail online.

The real way with Solar PV is individual small rooftop units based on netmetering. Make that easily available to general public, in ways that even a layman can understand. That would bring the real revolution !

Zaheer Sep 09, 2015 09:25am

Dawn TV's report on this lame project:

Sudhanshu Swami Sep 09, 2015 09:25am

Really good step. This will really provide support to Economy of China.

Asad Sep 09, 2015 09:28am

Great to see 'World's largest solar park' coming up in my home land; Pakistan.

Sudhanshu Swami Sep 09, 2015 09:28am

Solar panel shouldnt be installed in large at one place, those should be be at different locations of smaller capacity near population to reduce losses and also security concerns. Better is to give solar panels on subsidy directly to people so cost of land, security, maintenance , and transfer losses are eliminated.

syed Sep 09, 2015 09:28am

Pakistan government should encourage people to install roof top solar systems on their homes and commercial buildings. Government should cut the subsidies it gives to power companies and give rebates to people and businesses who will install solar systems on their properties. USA, Germany and Spain did that to encourage their people to do that and 1000s of MW of solar power systems have been installed in these countries. In the United States, more than 3000MW of residential and commercial roof top solar power systems have been installed in the State of California. Roof top solar systems will take the load off the grid and will help the power companies. Solar power cost only between $0.05 to $0.07 per kWh (unit). And yes we must also use other alternate sources like hydro and LNG to produce large scale power. But it takes a lot of natural gas to convert it into LNG and that process is not cheap.

Sudhanshu Swami Sep 09, 2015 09:33am

Pakistan is courageous, when many solar companies are shutting down due to loss, Pakistan is savier for them. We wish many GW projects like this in Pakistan. So later Solar prices will come down and we Indians will buy till 2020. Thank you.

SACHIN Sep 09, 2015 09:36am

Solar power with present day technology can never be alternate to generate power by Nuclear or Hydro, Other wise all the barren land of US, Europe and China could have been converted to Solar Park. In the long run Solar Power with present day tech is very expensive. While making investments, Govt should think of Long term financial gains and not Short term political gains.

Saad S Sep 09, 2015 09:36am

why there is so much negativity?

Darshan Suyal Sep 09, 2015 09:37am

Hearing the same concept from Modi as well for last one decade or so.. Hope his plan to do the same in areas bordering Pak in Rajasthan with maintenance by Armed force is still alive or being implemented... India has huge power shortage to achieve 24X7 power supply to all... First of all, a solid transmission policy too is a must to make theft minimal... and people must know, to have power, bill needs to be paid as well... Free, is destructive... offcourse till 100 units, it can be subsidized to some extent.. but the word FREE kills the economy and growth prospects of any given country...

isak Sep 09, 2015 09:37am

finally such a project can bring relief to industry that depends on steady supply of electricity ...this evident in any country around the world that uninterrupted supply of power leads to greater economic development!

Pakistani Sep 09, 2015 10:01am

To Critics think about Industry requirement in day time :-)

Akil Akhtar Sep 09, 2015 10:04am

Hardly any trolls....only one subject they are interested in...Pakistan bashing.

p r sharma Sep 09, 2015 10:08am

the great positive news from Pakistan. irrespective of all criticism on prices, maintenance, or even suspicion about corruption the project will boost the social and industrial activities . It will also boost the image of Nawaz Shariff and the PML(N) . such image boosting will ultimately help NS to better bargain with the establishment in governance and policy matters. Kudos to NS for the right approach .

Akbar Khan Sep 09, 2015 10:15am

Solar is the right path to go forward. This is the real investment opportunity and it will give us solid return in years to come.

Keep increasing.

Durgesh Tanwar Sep 09, 2015 10:21am

@Mishra India is investing in it and India's aim is to product 100000 MW by solar energy by 2022. you can search it in google.

Gp65 Sep 09, 2015 10:22am

@asim khan Tax breaks for Induvidusl Pakistanis? You do realize that only 0.3% Pakistanis pay income tax?

salman ahmed Sep 09, 2015 10:23am

@Logic looks as if you didn't read the complete article.. Only the heading!!

RP Sep 09, 2015 10:23am

very good

salman ahmed Sep 09, 2015 10:24am

@kaleem it already is!!

IR Sep 09, 2015 10:27am

Good efforts i am not a supporter of ruling party but good deeds should be appreciated .

Gp65 Sep 09, 2015 10:35am

@mohammed Aziz "Pakistan is definetly smarter than India which is going after nuclear plant plants, sold by US. The cost of 1W is higher for nuclear power plant, and there are more hazards during the plant operation, and after it's life time gets over."

India's goal is to generate 100000. MW of solar energy by 2020. The country already has some large solar parks in Rajasthan, Gujarat and MP. Do a little research before you comment.

kazim Sep 09, 2015 10:41am

Lovely article , well articulated with complete details. Hats off to ZOFEEN ..

Ravi Krishnamurthy Sep 09, 2015 11:01am

We in India welcome this development in Pakistan. Something positive indeed. Lets not look at the commercial viability of the project as of now. This project will generate jobs, gives positive outlook to the outside world and generates much needed energy. Keep it up. India is planning something similar in Rajasthan desert. India planning to generate a GW of solar power in next decade or so. Lets compete in this field..

Basuki Sep 09, 2015 11:03am

India should also learn some good lessons from Pakistan and invest in alternative sources of energy especially solar and wind energy.The states like Gujrat;Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh can be the major centres of solar and wind energy production.

Marlowe Everett Sep 09, 2015 11:10am

So far Pakistan growth and economy is concerns any government of Pakistan will safeguard this is not so nawaz shareef government will not in power Chinese government will no says that job is done in Pakistan we are going Chinese government investment and people are. Working until unless she will not gel her investment will not leave Pakistan it is sure

Ssamy Sep 09, 2015 11:11am

Good effort by Pakistan to reduce the environmental pollution.Solar parks will reduce the dependence on coal or oil and reduce the heating effect of the sun.

Sridhar Subramonyan Sep 09, 2015 11:13am

Congrats Pakistan!

Zulaid Sep 09, 2015 11:19am

Its good to have diversified sources of energy......all the sources have their own pros and cons

Truth Sep 09, 2015 11:37am

@Punjabi Please note: “On average, solar power plants deliver only about 20pc of installed capacity, and the peak production is during the day, while the peak demand is in the evening when the plant does not produce anything,”. So the 100 MW plant is to produce 20 MW (and, if at all completed, 1000 MW plant will generate 200 MW.

National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) says they have signed a deal to buy electricity at $0.24 per unit, which will drop later to perhaps $0.17 per unit after a period of seven years when loans are paid off. And add additiona; 25% cost for transmission to national grid. So the nation should get ready to pay around Rs. 30 per unit of electricity.

So enjoy another showcase project, which is simply NOT affordable for us.

Darshik Sep 09, 2015 11:37am

Kochi International airport in India is completely powered by Solar Energy.

Ghulam Sep 09, 2015 11:46am

All funded by Punjab government with Bank of Punjab a major lender, project at least 400% expensive than the current international prices. It is learnt that actual output is between 10 to 12 MW only. Havoc being played with public funds. A sure shot case for corruption and mismanagement!

rich Sep 09, 2015 11:47am

this is what pakistnis should do,

if they have to disagree and fight among themselves then it should be for which technology is good for pakistn, what will serve it better ect ect

india too beneifits from this green tech solar/hydel/hydro as less pollution in subcontinent

india too should compete if pakiatn build 1000mw solar we will built 2000mw solar, and pak should they have 2000mw park well we need 5000mw park

that's is real competation benifitting people

Import Sep 09, 2015 11:55am

I cant afford electicity at 25 rs per unit

yousaf Sep 09, 2015 11:55am

@Punjabi The article clearly mentioned the average efficiency of the plant would be 20% which means only 200 MW would be available at the rate of 24Rs/unit upto 2017.Neither the tarif nor the generation is in the interest of pakistan and pakistanis. hence its a waste of public money.

zafar ullah khan Sep 09, 2015 11:56am

whn u have already the capacity of hydel in kpk than why u r constrcting too much cosly electy from solar but the fact is only prefernce to punjab

Import Sep 09, 2015 11:56am

@jamal Wats the cost of 5 million cells 5 billion?

Arsalan Azhar Sep 09, 2015 12:06pm

Pakistan still need DAMS for storing water and to produce cheap electric power.

waqas Sep 09, 2015 12:14pm

i bet people still wont get enough electricity

ramesh Sep 09, 2015 12:26pm

It is sheer waste of money and effort. Pakistan will be turned to graveyard of old technology dumping by the Chinese. The technology to produce power from solar needs dramatic improvement to be viable. Instead of India Pakistan wasting money into deployment of solar power they should invest in technology enhancement before installation.

Patriotic Indian Sep 09, 2015 12:37pm

Very Good News, we indians are very happy to hear that Pak is progressing in the right direction for its energy needs. this park will save a lot of co2 which is good for the whole world.

Haneef Sep 09, 2015 12:56pm

Good progress in the sector, let's hope for more projects of the nature in Pakistan.

Zahid Jalbani Sep 09, 2015 01:13pm

This is the right time for countries like Pakistan to switch over the alternate energy options like this solar park. Rather than beating the same drum of Kala Bagh Dam construction for power production it would be good to go for the alternate energy options like solar, wind etc. that will lead Pakistan towards the path of sustainable development.

SAB Sep 09, 2015 01:34pm

a big project with lots of money but delivering little

Kazim Reza Sep 09, 2015 01:50pm

Producing electricity and environment preservation simultaneously with a least cost, a rare example that can be multiplied at home as well as other SAARC members. Thanks dawn for reproducing a wonderful story.

Milan Bhise Sep 09, 2015 01:58pm

Very good step in right direction. Good use of waste land.Hopefully, this will help Pakistan in reducing the power shortage to some extent. Will be happy to see the result.

Waqas Sep 09, 2015 02:26pm

@arif hydro are not built in couple of years they take more time. Coal n solar are quicker to setup.

sheraz ali Sep 09, 2015 02:32pm

It is a good initiative to breakdown the shortage of power.some how it is expensive but its worthy to deal with it rather then hulting it progress.our industries remain closed most of the time.indiectly it is affecting the normal citizens the most .

yogi Sep 09, 2015 03:40pm

Congrats Pakistan

abdullah Sep 09, 2015 04:32pm

PMLN .thank you.

Tariq Iqbal Sep 09, 2015 04:46pm

Excellent job done.

Having said that, I am little not well equipped with knowledge of the installation.

Reason for saying that, all these panels seems to place with the brackets directly on the ground.

My personal believe is that once we are making such huge investment, we need to secure our investment accordingly. But in the said scenario only physical security to the site exist but nothing has been done to secure it from natural calamity.

What I would prefer a proper platform needs to be made for these panels, so less interaction with soil or water is involve.

Plus, need to add one major point over here also, when we are going to have the solar panel been manufactured in Pakistan not their frames, I mean technology transfer.

In the end, I would again praise your effort for bringing the Solar energy to Pakistan.


Tariq Iqbal

quraishi Sep 09, 2015 04:55pm

@Sandhu Dear we didnt raise in the past and how can you say that we will raise again.

Sajad Sep 09, 2015 05:07pm

Currently generating 20MW with 100MW installed???

Dipak Singh Sep 09, 2015 06:01pm

Nice to see something good for humanity... go ahead.

Mohyal Sep 09, 2015 06:44pm

Great to see this positive news from Pakistan. All the best from your neighbour

Indian Sep 09, 2015 07:02pm

Pakistan is on the right track of deploying self sufficient state in electricity. They have to install all forms of power generators. Ford has built 1GW(1024 MW) plant in Germany. Pak my beloved neighbor should sooner attain self sufficient in power, food and in all departments and provide peaceful place in earth to live.

Let all the evil forces go out of Pak soon and sooner Pak should emerge as a developed nation. PAK-Indo Zindabad.

haris Sep 09, 2015 07:04pm

Pakistan rich with mountains and glaciers and has the tendency to produce more than 120,000 MW of electricity through hydro-power projects. On the other side Pakistan can also generate the remaining need of energy through Wind energy. Then why on Earth we have opted for less productive and costlier Solar Energy solution?

Yes, Solar farms works well for small villages or towns but to fulfill the entire nation's requirement there are certainly more productive alternatives.

khan Sep 09, 2015 07:07pm

Good luck to the Chinese Engineer. She/He will be dealing with people who would like to get commission for every cheque being cleared.

haris Sep 09, 2015 07:08pm

@asim khan Yes, you are right. The Govt. instead of building solar parks should have adopted an strategy that allows people to install Solar Panels on their roofs in order to fulfill their energy requirements and the surplus (if any) could be added in the National Grid. This strategy has been adopted by Western countries mainly Europe and now India has also made great strides towards it. In the long run these kinds of huge Parks would not benefit the people and the country.

goodDeedsLeadTo Sep 09, 2015 08:27pm

Individual homes should use solar panels instead of making huge parks, similar to what we have on our west coast, to avoid risks of not being able to meet huge requirements, like water for cleanup. We have wind mills parks in the Midwest, & that makes more sense. We can register ourselves to green energy option and smart grids, however we have to pay 5 percent additional to use green, and that is not acceptable to me, at least. Smart grid works with wireless and can give you credit into your account based on your ability to supply electricity back to the grid. You should be able to see your consumption on the website, in real time, because it is wireless.

Kurd. A Sep 09, 2015 08:30pm

Why all the big projects in Punjab , why Karachi is ignored that provides 70% of the revenue.??

nawab Sep 09, 2015 08:53pm

World's largest solar park is in California and next is coming up in India in state MP.

Shailesh Sep 09, 2015 09:25pm

Very good, with due respect and sentiment of my pakistani brothers I would like to inform that in india since 2002 each and every building constucted having 4 or upper floors Must have solar system.

Saad Sep 09, 2015 09:36pm

@Energy Another point is that globally the cost is much higher than the 5.84 cents bid quoted in your comment. For developed countries it lies in the range of 8-10 cents. The bid you quoted is a middle eastern company which most probally received financing at a much lower rate due to government subsidiaries.

Faisal Sep 09, 2015 10:38pm

Bad planning, bad governance. a huge expensive investment and minimum electricity production. we have a lot of other alternative to product electricity.

deven Sep 10, 2015 07:51am

Well done Pakistan. One sane step after thousand others. 1000 MW parks are coming up in --California-2, Pak-1 and Telengana in India-1. Problem is that these will be areas of high voltage and thereby increased magnatic signature may be targets during war.One strike and BATTI GUL.So alternative has to be available. Also the water used for washing these plates has to be re-circulated ,else will use all the waters of the deserts. Last point is manufacture of these voltic cells. In India at-least 22 companies are allready manufacturing these plates and surely improvements will always be there for this cheaply harnessed ,costly product.

Sajid Syed Sep 10, 2015 09:08am

Solar power is fancy but expensive to run, maintain and keep consistent flow.

Burjor Rustomji Sep 10, 2015 10:19am

The experience gained from this project should be shared with the nation. How can one obtain the technical specifications for the project, so individual home owners can use this information to their advantage. Can someone help to find out.

Burjor Rustomji Sep 10, 2015 10:25am

@ak. How can one do net metering in Karachi, where and whom does one have to go to at Karachi Electric. most grateful for your answer.

Arvind Sep 10, 2015 10:57am

Good to see something positive in Pakistan

Adil Sep 10, 2015 11:25am

PML-N is master in rolling out "show-off" projects, like motorway, metrobus, laptops, solar power parks etc. at 3 to 4 times high cost as compared to other countries. They have made billions in terms of dollars in kick backs and the ordinary Pakistani is deprived of health, education, security and good governance. Do we need such people to govern Pakistan? from my side a big NO.

Khi92 Sep 10, 2015 11:59am

Corruption smells from everywhere!

sandy Sep 10, 2015 04:22pm

Seems the Chinese have taken the Govt for a ride. Selling power at USD 0.14 per kwh! That's the kind of rate one expects to pay in Iceland where there's little Sun, not in Pakistan surely. Why don't they buy from next door Rajasthan at half the price

Abdul Sep 10, 2015 04:51pm

I wonder from where you got your data, world's largest solar plant is in Las Vegas while one is planned to be built in Madhya Pradesh, India. Who told you that this one is the largest?

Naveed Sep 10, 2015 05:40pm

Recent visit to Australia I saw many houses have solar panels why don't we do that rather then using land which can be unfortunately targeted by some crazy folks

Azmat Ali Sep 10, 2015 07:15pm

Daily average production has been 12 MW. Peak production is 85 MW during the day. This is NOT a 100MW project.

This is costing the nation 0.24$ per unit. Compare that to current average cost of unit, from all sources, being 0.14$. When putting up new projects, running costs are one of the BIGGEST criteria of project feasibility.

Our price per unit from this solar park is 0.24$, whereas similar projects in India are costing 0.10$ and in Dubai 0.054$.

Yes, it is a brilliant success. (sarcasm much...)

discover Sep 10, 2015 09:08pm

20% of actual 100 MW? this is a big question? Was it worth to spend billion of dollars for this small percentage? May God protect our nation from corrupt administration. The nation is seeing a beacon of light after a long time under the leadership of General Raheel Sharif.

discover Sep 10, 2015 09:19pm

@Adil Good analysis Adil

vivek Sep 10, 2015 09:39pm

@Energy Common bro they must buy real estate in UAE and this will fund them

taha Sep 10, 2015 09:40pm

Pray n strive for transparent n efficient project atleast some work is being done unlike the last gov

Saleh Sheikh Sep 10, 2015 10:54pm

@asim khan Sun showers energy over a palace and a hut alike, at their doorstep. Solar is democratic! Monopoly & Profiteerig through Supply Companies breakup through solar be Historic acchievement.

Zeeshan Sep 11, 2015 08:53am

By the time the loan period of 7 Years would get over, instead of price of per unit coming down to 17 cents it would even enhance to coup up with replacement of faulty panels and repair of such a fragile plant. Even the "commercial grade" solar panels do not reach their expected life span of 15 years and end up in half

urooj zaidi Sep 11, 2015 09:03am

Solar power is a good alternative but it is very costly and its maintenence requirements are too much. In comparison Hydro and wind are the better alternatives. To overcome the power crisis with scarce financial resources, we need to build some new Dams where requires and new wind farms in Jhampir Sind.

Pakistan Zindabad

True Blue Indian Sep 11, 2015 10:32am

Well Done Pakistan ! Way to go .... Very good initiative ... and very fruitful partnership with China there ... Good to see pakistan focusing on energy crisis that country is facing , It will boost the industry and economy as a whole ... Pakistan should expand its Nuclear power generation as well rather than making bombs ... Regarding this project , great Initiative. but just that costs seems very high ... need lot of efficiency on the part of government here.

Dev Sep 11, 2015 12:03pm

@Shahid Ejaz bhai... They, indeed' are erected on concrete pile foundation!