LAHORE                      -                  Minister for Energy Dr Akhtar Malik has said that more than 7000 schools in Punjab have been shifted to solar.

Addressing a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday, he said that MoUs have been signed with 13 universities to convert to solar energy.

LCCI President Irfan Iqbal presided-over the meeting while Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, former President Sohail Lashari and former Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir also spoke on the occasion.

Executive Committee members Aqib Asif, Fiaz Haider, Zeshan Sohail Malik, Nasrullah Mughal and Mian Sheheryar Ali were also present.

“Investors from private sector have been invited to produce electricity through solar that will be purchased by the universities according to their needs”, the minister said.

He said that two villages, having 500 houses each, have also been shifted to bio-gas and solar energy. He said that two wind power plants have been established in Joharabad.

He said that in the past governments signed long term agreements to purchase electricity at high tariffs from IPPs.

He said that some agreements would be completed in the year 2023 while some would be expired in 2032. New agreements would be re-negotiated after expiry of term, he said.

Dr Akhtar Malik said various sites have been identified for mini hydel projects of 1 MW and above. While inviting the private sector to invest in these projects, he said that government would provide all facilities to the investors.

They should come forward, invest and produce cheap electricity for the industrial sector. He said that government was promoting net metering while front desks were also being established at all DISCOs to encourage people to produce their own electricity through solar. He said that a testing lab has been established near Kala Shah Kaku for the testing of solar panel quality.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Punjab has a vital importance in Pakistan’s economy as it contributes around 55% to the national GDP and accounts for about 68% of electricity demand in the country.

He said that energy was an important component of the investment climate because of its role as an important input in the production process.

He said that in addition to the environmental concerns, the increased dependence on expensive thermal power generation results in tariff hikes, subsidies, circular debt, inefficiencies which hamper the competitiveness of Industrial sector.