Faisalabad - Pakistan is lucky to have long sunshine hours coupled with high insolation levels and is ideally located to take benefit of solar energy for power generation, said national and foreign scientists at a seminar held here.

The seminar titled "Prospects, Development & Utilisation of Alternate Energy in Pakistan" was organised by the Pakistan Society of Agricultural Engineers in collaboration with Faculty of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad at New Senate Hall.

UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan Presided over the seminar and Texilla UET Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Abbas Chaudhry was the chief guest.

Scientists from Switzerland Anton Joseph and Scientist from Italy Ing Fausto Distante made presentation. The seminar was also addressed by MPA Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan, Member of New Zealand Parliament Dr Muhammad Ashraf Chaudhry, Punjab Energy Additional Secretary Khalid Javed Ranjha, Clean Alternative Energy representative Shehzada Khurram, former livestock minister Mumtaz Khan Manhais, PAEC Representative Dr Nawaz Akhtar, Dean Faculty of Agri Engineering Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, Dr Muhammad Ghaffar Dogar, Mushtaq Ahmad Gill and Dr Allah Bakhsh.

The scientists said that the mean Global irradiation falling on horizontal surface is about 200-250 watt per m2 per day. They added that this amounts to about 1,500-3,000 sunshine hours and 1.9 - 2.3 Mwh per m2 per year. They added Pakistan can make use of this freely available and widely distributed solar energy to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people living in remote areas and to reduce the poverty level.

Dr Iqrar said that there is nexus between agriculture, energy and water so that scientists have to focus on maintaining this momentum. He revealed that a centre for international standard bio-gas energy will be established at UAF Campus with the help of Punjab government.

He was of the view that a solar panel manufacturing plant as well as 3.8 Megawatt solar power generation plant would be established at the campus which will provide affordable solar panel to the consumers.

The UET Texilla VC said that the technical universities can play a significant role in providing a solution to the energy crises being faced by the country. Dr Niaz said that a state of the art bio-gas plant has been established with collaborative solutions to the farming community.

Rana Afzal said that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was utilising the all resource to generate energy through hydel, coal, bio-gas and solar resources in the province. Khalid Javed said that the Punjab government was going to set up a mega project on Tonsa Barrage for the generation of 120 Mega Watt power. Mumtaz Khan stressed the need for small solar units for farmers at subsidized packages at village level.

Shehzada Khurram said that his company would establish a solar energy technology development plant at Faisalabad in which solar panels and other machinery would be manufactured at local level. Mushtaq Ahmad said that we have to switch over our traditional power generation system to renewable energy mechanism.