Pakistan’s Cumulative Solar Capacity Tops 1.5 GW

Apr 23,2019
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At the end of 2018, the cumulative installed solar energy capacity of Pakistan had reached 1,568 MW, increasing from 742 MW at the end of 2017, representing an addition of over 800 MW in a single year. These statistics are published in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual report.

The report tracks renewables growth of several countries starting from 2009. For Pakistan it means solar power capacity of 4 MW in 2009 has now grown to 1.5 GW, accounting for 12% of out of 13 GW of total renewable energy capacity of the country in 2018.

Globally, a total of 171 GW of new renewable energy capacity was installed in 2018, growing 7.9% annually, of which 84% came from wind and solar alone. In concrete terms, solar added 94 GW of new capacity with Asia accounting for 64 GW, while wind grew by 49 GW.

According to an April 2018 Renewables Readiness Assessment report of IRENA, Pakistan does not have a clear renewable energy target, which the agency says is a must to ‘translate political will into a language that can be understood by investors‘.

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The World Wind Energy Association reported on April 2, 2019 that the new government in the country under Prime Minister Imran Khan plans to increase the share of renewable energy in total power generation to 30% by 2030, from wind, solar and biomass, and additionally 30% from large-scale hydropower. It would be a 26% points increase from the current renewables share of 4%. Pakistan is working on its Renewable Energy Policy 2019 whose guiding principles have been approved by the government’s Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE).

As per January 2017 directives issued by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) of Pakistan, the country should be moving towards a competitive bidding process for utility scale solar and wind power plants, something that’s yet to take place.

In a December 2018 report, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) wrote that the country could reach 12.4 GW of total installed solar power capacity by 2029-30, provided the government came up with clearly defined targets for long-term renewable energy policy.