Pakistan Introduces Net Metering Policy For Rooftop Solar Panels

Pakistani power regulators have approved a regulatory framework for solar and wind energy for both commercial and residential installations. The framework includes feed-in tariffs for commercial power producers and net metering for residential applications of up to 1 MW.

Under the new Net Metering Law, NEPRA, the Pakistani power regulator, will grant power generation licenses to solar and wind system owners. The owners will need to register the critical equipment used, particularly the make and model of inverter and generator used. Among other technical considerations, the generator must also install a manual disconnect device to take the system off the network if necessary, according to details published by PV Tech publication.

Source: PV-Tech

Net metering is a billing mechanism that pays solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. It allows a residential customers with rooftop solar panels to generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours and sell it to the power supply company. It will require a bi-directional meter (or two separate meters) for implementation.

Pakistan has already introduced feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for larger renewable power systems to supply electricity to the national grid on a commercial scale.  It paved the way for a 1000 MW Quaid-e-Azam solar park being built in Bahawalpur.

Pakistan's renewable power policy and regulatory frameworks have drawn praise from international law firm Eversheds which has described the country as “one of the most exciting renewables markets globally, with an abundance of potential”. Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) of Pakistan's CEO, Amjad Ali Awan has said that "Pakistan’s renewable market is relatively new but it provides an attractive investment opportunity with compelling structures which make it bankable as well as marketable."

Net metering law is necessary but not sufficient to promote widespread use of renewable energy. It will take serious coordinated efforts of Pakistan power regulator NEPRA, the country's nascent solar industry and various utilities like K-Electric to start implementation. Meanwhile, consumers could install a stand-alone rooftop solar system that can be connected to the grid in future. They just need to make sure to select high-quality equipment, particularly inverter and switch, for this purpose which will most likely be acceptable to utilities.

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Comment by Riaz Haq on September 15, 2015 at 4:18pm

In #Pakistan, #solar water heaters help a town move away from wood via @ReutersIndia

NATHIAGALI, Pakistan (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - For the past year, a steady stream of villagers has been visiting Muhammad Naeem’s home in this quaint mountain town in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

They come for one reason: to see for themselves the benefits of his solar water heater.

"A solar geyser does not cause respiratory diseases, it reduces the burden of firewood collection, and it gets rid of kerosene expenses,” the roadside shop owner, 35, tells curious visitors. “My wife no longer burns fuelwood to heat water for cooking, bathing, and washing dishes or laundry.”

At least one of Naeem’s visitors walks away convinced.

"I don’t think anyone could resist owning a solar water geyser himself,” fruit farmer Ali Akbar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It offers so many economic, health and environmental benefits.”

First introduced to Nathiagali six years ago, as part of an initiative by the World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan), roof-top solar water heaters are gaining popularity among the area’s villagers as a cheap, easy, and green alternative to wood and kerosene.

The heating systems comprise of a set of water-filled solar tubes, called collectors, connected to an insulated water tank above them.

The tubes absorb sunlight to heat the water inside them. As it heats, the water rises into the storage tank. At the same time, cooler water from the tank flows into the collectors to be heated, keeping hot water circulating through the system.

The units require no electricity to run, making them an affordable, convenient option for communities not on the power grid, experts say. Because they produce no smoke or fumes, solar heaters cut down on the respiratory illnesses associated with burning wood and kerosene.

And, crucially, the heating systems help conserve the trees in Nathiagali and three other towns surrounding Ayubia National Park, an area that is home to 4,000 families, most of whom rely on the local forests of oak, cedar and ​​coniferous pine for fuel.


The solar water heating technology first arrived to the towns around the park in 2009, as part of a $48,000 WWF-Pakistan Climate-Resilient Watershed Management Programme funded by the Coca Cola Foundation.

The aim of the project was to curtail deforestation in the area, where over 1,100 mature trees are cut down each year, local forest officials say.

According to Itzaz Mehfooz, a former sub-divisional forest officer, tree cutting has led to problems including soil erosion, landslides, and flash floods, particularly when torrential rains hit.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2015 at 9:40am

AGP’s report sees improvement in power generation to 16,890 MW 2015 in #Pakistan since 2013 via @ePakistanToday

The power sector in 2015 has shown significant improvement and has been able to utilise 90 per cent of its available generation capacity and recorded 16,890 MW electricity generation against 18,616 MW derated generation capacity previously.

This has been stated in the audit report submitted by the AGP to the president of Pakistan for the period 2012-13 of previous government tenure till 2014-15.

According to the report, domestic load shedding has been brought down from 8-11 hours to 6-8 hours while industrial load shedding has decreased from 8-12 hours to zero since November 2014, except during January and Ramzan.

The report said that cost minimisation and improvement in cash flow has been ensured by implementing the merit order dispatch – using economical plants first, introducing uniform load management, differentiated load management by identifying higher theft areas and brining all DISCOs collection to CPPA.

These measures have enabled the power sector to pay better and as a result the PSO has received 101 per cent of its outstanding during 2014-15 as compared to 77 per cent during 2013-14, IPPs received 102 per cent in 2014-15 as compared to 85 per cent during 2013-14 and gas companies 106 per cent in 2014-15 as compared to 104 per cent in 2013-14.

In the efforts to lower burden on national exchequer, the power sector has improved a lot. In 2012-13, 334 billion was the subsidy provided by the government accounting for 2.4 percent of GDP. Due to better fiscal management in 2013-14, the subsidy was brought down to 292 billion rupees making it 1.7 percent of the GDP. In the year 2014-15, the subsidy further decreased to 221 billion making it 0.76 percent of GDP. The ministry is further making efforts to further bring down the subsidy.

Similarly, the increase in circular debt in 2013-14 was 203 billion making it 0.7 percent of GDP while in 2014-15 it registered only 49 billion rupees increase accounting for only 0.17 percent of GDP.

For investment facilitation new polices have already been adopted, flexible and enabling security documents have been ensured and investors have been granted greater access and regular reviews of the potential power projects. These policies have been taken well and around 15,000 MW of power sector projects are now on fast tract and in different stages.

In 2013 the energy sector was faced with dual deficit dilemma – generation deficit of around 6,000 MW resulting in heavy industrial and domestic line losses and financial deficit resulting in heavy burden on public exchequer. Another problem being faced was the management deficit in terms of no load management plan resulting in unpredictable load shedding and no financial management plan resulting in burden on fiscal resources. Similarly, the national transmission system was highly risky and there were challenges for new investment in the power sector.

Comment by Riaz Haq on September 23, 2015 at 8:22pm

#Solar-powered emergency mobile network developed in #Pakistan - E & T Magazine

A solar-powered portable mobile phone network that can be used if standard communication channels are down due to natural disasters has been developed by Pakistani researchers.
Called the Rescue Base Station (RBS) for Pakistan, the system, developed by a team from the Information Technology University (ITU) in Lahore in cooperation with the University of California, is the first of its kind supporting standard mobile phones.

"When the RBS is installed in a disaster-hit area, people automatically start receiving its signals on their mobile phones,” said Umar Saif, ITU vice chancellor and an adviser to the project. “They can manually choose it and then call, send messages and even browse (Internet) data free of charge."

The network is powered by a compact antenna fitted into a lightweight box equipped with a signal amplifier, battery and a solar panel. The whole system could be either carried by rescue workers or even dropped from a helicopter to re-establish communication channels in disaster-stricken areas.

According to Saif, people within three kilometres from the station would be able to receive the signal. All they would need to do is to register into the network by sending their name, occupation, age and blood group to a dedicated phone number.

"This helps generate an automatic database of people in distress, and eventually helps both the rescue and relief teams and the victims," said Saif.

The network has not yet been tested in a real-life scenario but the ITU hopes to run first experiments within the next six to eight months.

The network could save lives in disaster situations by enabling survivors to connect with rescue workers and the government authorities.

Users would be able to get the information they need in just a few seconds by sending a text message to specific numbers appearing on their mobile phone.

“For example, if a person needs to contact a fire brigade, they text the words ‘occupation: firefighters’ to the relevant number,” said Saif. “They will then receive names and contact details for local firefighters in just a few seconds and can call for help.”

Funded through the Google Faculty Research Award, the RBS network is based on open source software and cost about $6,000 to develop.

The researchers envision the technology would be procured by mobile phone network operators to bridge outages in their coverage in disaster situations before their normal services could be restored.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 16, 2016 at 10:44am

Pakistan proposes solar FiT revisions

Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has published proposed revisions to its feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for solar energy projects of between 1-100MW capacity.

The South region includes the whole of Sindh and Baluchistan Provinces and South Punjab while the rest fo Pakistan's provinces account for the North.

NEPRA will now consider whether to determine a new upfront tariff for solar power projects or to determine a benchmark levelized tariff for competitive bidding by the relevant agency, and whether the proposed costs are reasonable.

Stakeholders now have less than two weeks to provide an intervention to the proposals. A hearing will also be held on 21 July in Islamabad.

This article has been updated to say the FiTs account for projects between 1-100MW.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 16, 2016 at 12:29pm
Incentives 17 Solarenergie in Pakistan -Waqas Bin Najib  An attractive tariff model with sound guarantee structures for the RE power projects  Additional guarantee structures being put up my multilateral agencies for RE power projects in the country  Guaranteed power purchase (100% of produced electricity is mandatory for Power Purchaser to off-take)  State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has soft credit line for small renewable energy power projects  Zero rated import of all renewable energy plant, machinery, equipment, and spares (including electronics, batteries, and other machinery)  Exemption from income tax, including turnover rate tax and withholding tax on imports.  Repatriation of equity along with dividends freely allowed, subject to rules and regulations prescribed by the State Bank of Pakistan.
Comment by Riaz Haq on June 16, 2016 at 12:41pm

Solar tariffs decline to all-time low of of Rs 4.63 per kWhr: Piyush Goyal

Solar power tariff in India touched record low as US-based SunEdison won a contract to sell electricity from a 500 Mw project at Rs 4.63 per unit (Pak Rs. 7.19) , accelerating India's $160 billion clean energy drive and casting a shadow on fossil-fuel plants that pollute the air and sometimes charge a higher rate.

The winning tariff, for a project of NTPC, came in the Narendra Modi government's first round of auction under the solar mission. India has already attracted big-ticket solar energy investments. These include $3 billion plans of China's Sany group and $20 billion planned by Japan's SoftBank Corp along with Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan's Foxconn Technology. SunEdison's bid is about 15% cheaper than the industry average and about 8% less than the previous lows achieved a few months ago in India's solar energy space. It betters the previous lowest solar tariff in India — Rs 5.05 per unit (Pak Rs. 7.85) — quoted by Canadian SkyPower for a tender in Madhya Pradesh while current average solar tariff in the country is Rs 5.5-6 per kWh. Experts said the tariff offered under the Centre's National Solar Mission reflects the bidders' confidence on NTPC that called the bids and the solar parks where the plants would come up. Sources said SunEdison won the entire contract for 500 Mw solar power supply after an aggressive bidding among 28 companies, including Japan's SoftBank Corp, China's Trina Solar, ReNew Power, Reliance Power and First Solar, which were in fray for the NTPC tender for solar capacity to be developed in Ghani Solar Park at Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.

The 28 companies had qualified for the reverse e-auction that started Tuesday afternoon and ended in the early hours of Wednesday. At least nine firms bid lower than Rs 5 per unit during the reverse auction, sources said. "Delighted that an all time low solar tariff has been achieved during reverse e-auction conducted by NTPC," renewable energy minister Piyush Goyal tweeted on Wednesday morning. The minister had earlier told ET in an interview that the country's energy investment thrust would clearly be skewed towards the renewable sector.

PricewaterhouseCoopers energy leader Kameswara Rao said the latest solar auction reflects continued decline in solar module prices. "But it owes as much to higher creditworthiness of the buyer, and to the concept of solar parks, which are relatively costlier but take out development risks," he said. The government has increased its thrust on renewable energy projects with an ambitious target of raising renewable energy generation to 175 GW by 2020.

Comment by Riaz Haq on June 16, 2016 at 12:49pm

Tariff revision poses threat to solar power project

Upset over the move by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to push the tariff down from 14.15 cents to 9.25 cents per unit from January 2016, Zonergy President Yu Yong has sent a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

In the letter, he recalled that the company’s interest in setting up the solar power plant dated back to August 2013 when the first memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed. The Punjab government and Zonergy signed another MoU on July 9, 2014 in Beijing for installation of the 900MW plant in Bahawalpur under the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park project.

This was followed by a project commitment agreement on July 23, 2014 and both sides agreed on a tariff of 14 cents per unit excluding taxes and also reached agreement on associated conditions and the project implementation schedule.

This tariff, he claimed, was quite below the prevailing market standard as Nepra’s tariff at that time was 16.2 cents per unit, but the company accepted it in view of the economies of scale of the project.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 7, 2017 at 9:51am

#Pakistan first country to benefit from high-quality #solar maps: World Bank #renewables

Pakistan has become the first country to benefit from duly validated, high-quality solar maps under a global initiative, allowing it to tap into its renewable energy resources more effectively, the World Bank said in a press release on Tuesday.

The new solar maps for Pakistan were unveiled today at a workshop hosted by the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) and the World Bank in Islamabad.

According to the World Bank, Pakistan is now part of a small group comprising mainly developed countries with access to sustainable and affordable sources of indigenous energy.

"With the costs of solar power having decreased significantly over the past couple of years, Pakistan now has the opportunity to unleash investment in solar energy without the need for subsidies," said Anthony Cholst, Acting Country Director for the World Bank, Pakistan.

"The World Bank stands ready to support the federal and provincial governments in realising this objective, alongside the support we are already providing for development of hydro-power sector reform and the strengthening of the transmission grid. It is time to realize the full potential of this clean and secure source of energy," he added.

"These new solar maps will definitely ensure qualified improvement vis-a-vis previous studies, and will underscore the tremendous solar potential that exists across Pakistan," said Amjad Ali Awan, Chief Executive Officer of AEDB.

Awan also appreciated the World Bank for its "valuable contribution" to Pakistan's "continued efforts towards scaling up of renewable energy in an affordable and sustainable manner."

Details of solar mapping project
Led by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program, a multi-donor trust fund administered by the World Bank, the initiative will "facilitate investors in making more informed project decisions".

"The maps will help large solar power projects in obtaining commercial financing by reducing the resource risk," the press release further said.

The World Bank project on solar mapping in Pakistan includes field data being generated by nine solar measurement stations installed two years ago across the country.

"The project supports AEDB’s efforts to harness renewable energy in all the provinces by improving access to bankable data," the World Bank statement said. "The solar maps used the latest solar resource modeling techniques, based on 18 years of satellite and global atmospheric data from 1999-2016."

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 8, 2017 at 8:36pm

The arrival of clean energy in Pakistan

Clean energy is ramping up in Pakistan. Solar PV and LED lighting solutions are fast becoming pervasive in both rural and urban areas with thousands of small businesses signing up for clean energy.

For consumers, it is only logical to move beyond intermittent grid electricity which has proven to be both expensive and unreliable.

As per the latest International Energy Agency Report for 2016, clean energy accounted for 70pc of total electricity generation investment, sidelining investments in fossil-fuel based generation by a wide margin.

Clean energy investments are led by wind power (37pc), solar PV (34pc) and hydropower (20pc).

Amongst countries, China leads the global investment in clean energy generation and continues to invest roughly more than double its investment in clean energy as compared to fossil fuel generation, followed by the European Union, the United States and Japan.

Pakistan has taken a different approach towards energy security. The CPEC has shifted the bulk of the new additions to coal and nuclear. Despite this, solar, wind and micro hydro have all taken off.

What is really encouraging is the use of solar PV by small and medium businesses amid unreliable and expensive grid electricity.

The electricity regular, Nepra, must be given full credit for setting the right sectoral tone by introducing Wheeling, Net Metering and Distributive Generation regulations, all in a short span of time.

Consumers have realised that it is grid energy which is intermittent and expensive and not clean energy.

At the grid level, consumers are unnecessarily penalised with surcharges and taxes which include tariff rationalisation surcharge, debt servicing surcharge, Neelum Jhelum surcharge, FED, sales tax and other fees.

Through all this, the cost of grid electricity is being pushed much higher despite low crude oil prices.

Circular debt, as per media reports, is once again hovering in the range of Rs450 billion and the only plausible way to pay it off is via levy of another surcharge. It has become a norm in the sector that those who pay are only asked to pay more for those who don’t pay at all.

Pakistan needs to understand the business case for clean energy — primarily the impact on jobs and increase in business productivity.

As a country, we too will be adding roughly 1,000MW of clean energy (wind, solar and bagasse) in the next two years but will be adding substantially more from coal and nuclear power.

The government needs to realise that the tide has shifted. The old notions that clean energy is expensive and intermittent no longer holds true.

With changing times, incentives must be provided to help scale clean energy, provide it with the right eco-system, along with regulations to help consumers shift to improved technologies.

Now is the time for Pakistan to truly embrace its clean energy potential, make an early transition and reap the benefits of higher business productivity and increased job creation.

Comment by Riaz Haq on January 7, 2018 at 9:49pm

Pakistan updates net metering scheme, unveils clean energy investment program

Pakistan has updated its 2015 net metering scheme to make it more user friendly. The Government of Punjab, meanwhile, has unveiled a new Access to Clean Energy Investment Program, aimed at installing over 20,000 solar PV rooftop systems.

Pakistan has updated its net metering guidelines. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi officially launched the changes at a ceremony in Islamabad on January 3.

Overall, the framework is said to have been simplified, while net metering connections can now be gained in less than one month.

According to a statement on the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage Government of Pakistan website, Khaqan said issues of service and equipment quality had also been addressed.

He added that the key challenge now is to make the system “more efficient and reduce the cost of generation,” of which net metering is part of the plan.

Pakistan first introduced a net metering scheme on September 1, 2015. According to Net Metering Pakistan, as of last March 20, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) had connected 56 net metering systems and imported nearly 6 MWh of electricity.

Reducing the burden

The Government of Punjab is also looking to up the solar ante, having introduced The Access to Clean Energy Investment Program, aimed at reducing burden on the National Grid and improving environmental conditions through the implementation of off-grid, decentralized energy solutions.

It is looking to install solar PV rooftop systems on all basic health units (2,400), schools (20,000) and public buildings in the province.

In a document calling for expressions of interest (EOI), the government adds, “The program also includes conducting the energy efficiency audits on the public sector building, construction of a model net zero building and establishment of IT based Program Performance Monitoring System.”

Among the conditions required for project developers, are the criteria that they have completed at least two similar projects within the last 10 years, and have an annual turnover of Rs. 30.00 Million (around US$270,800) or higher.

To fund the program, the government has asked the Asian Development Bank for support to the tune of $87.69 million, which was already approved in November 2016.

“The ADB will support broader GoPb provincial government program for providing uninterrupted access to affordable and clean energy, as set out in the respective power sector master plan,” said the government.

Overall, two phases have been envisaged for implementing the plan: (i) solar PV rooftop systems on 10,861 schools in South Punjab; and (ii) systems on another around 9,700 schools in Northern and Central Punjab.

“The installed solar plants will provide electricity to more than 2.4 million students, including 30% girl’s schools,” said the government.

In addition, a 2.5 MW PV system will be installed at the Islamia University Bahawalpur in 
Punjab by Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA). And 2,400 basic healthcare units will receive solar PV rooftop installations.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Pakistan will see PV installations increase 46% in 2017, up from 700 MW in 2016, to 1.020 GW.


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