GUJRAT: A sharp surge in the demand for solar-powered fans — propelled by power disconnections and social networking sites — is being witnessed as summer approaches.
A local manufacturer told Dawn the demand for solar fans surfaced in 2015 when the government started to disconnect electricity connections and removing power transformers in parts of Hyderabad as well as interior Sindh, some districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other areas of the country where electricity theft had been on the rise.
Also areas where there is no power supply or areas where consumers are faced with low voltage, more and more people are now relying on solar-powered products, he added.
Initially, some small manufacturers in Gujrat catered to the demand for solar fans and made handsome profits, he said.
However, now the trend has picked up pace and almost all small-, medium- and large-scale manufacturers have started producing these fans upcoming summer season.
Another manufacturer said the local industry has been able to explore new markets across the country due to social media. According to him, he booked several orders from far-flung areas of Balochistan and South Punjab after he uploaded photos of his products on Facebook.
“I had not heard the names of many of these places before. The solar fans have been hugely successful due to social media and the profit margin is pretty good too when compared with regular fans,” he explained.
Solar motors with router armature are being imported from China in large numbers. Earlier, only electrical steel sheet was the major component which was being imported for production of fans.
Though solar-powered ceiling fans are gaining popularity, mostly pedestal fans of 18-inch diameter are being manufactured in solar technology as these can be used in open places in summer. The usage of solar fans may reduce the pressure on the electricity supply system.
The local fan industry of Gujrat has been producing at least 10,000 solar fans daily from the last two to three months. The average market price of solar fans (pedestal and ceiling) ranges from Rs3,000-5,000 (excluding solar panel and batteries).
According to rough estimates, Pakistani manufacturers, mostly in Gujrat, produce at least seven million electric fans per year for the domestic and international markets.
A local fan manufacturer, who has recently visited China, said the city of Guangzhou is the main destination for importers of Chinese solar motors.
He said he spent a week in the Guangzhou to see the manufacturing of solar motors.
Though local manufacturer have been importing most of the solar motors from China, some manufacturers in Gujrat have also installed the machinery to produce these locally to cater to their needs.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2017