The case for Pakistan to ramp up its renewable energy generation

Countr­y’s greenh­ouse gas emissi­ons to quadru­ple by 2030 making it impera­tive for govt to focus on clean energy…

Pakistan has a huge potential for alternative energy generation, an estimated 2.9 million megawatt (MW) of solar energy and 340,000 MW of wind. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: It’s very easy to miss, the flat, grey rectangular board hanging from a shop’s awning, the lone solar panel along the entirety of the 2.5-km long Main Mehmoodabad Road – the middle-income locality’s main commercial strip lined with hundreds of shops and home to an endless stream of Karachi’s chaotic traffic.

It hangs inconspicuous, lightly swaying in the wind, powering Omair Bin Tahir’s small eyeglasses store, Choice Optics.

Perturbed by prolonged power outages especially during peak business hours, Tahir installed the 100 watts panel some six months ago.

Now he doesn’t have to worry about having to turn customers away during the evening, the time when people start thronging the market and power outages commonly strike.

While his neighbouring shopkeepers try to help customers amid the din of noisy generators or charging-starved UPS systems, Tahir is relaxed because thanks to his solar panel he has enough power stored to run his shop’s fan and several bright lights for hours.

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Mehmoodabad faces up to six hours of power outages daily, while unscheduled suspensions are also relatively common, leaving locals to turn to UPS systems or generators. A handful of households have installed solar panels but so far Tahir is the only shopkeeper using one.

“It was mostly a business-oriented decision for me. I needed something to address my electricity woes,” said Tahir. The shopkeeper is aware of the environmental benefits of clean energy but thinks people will shift to solar more to meet their energy needs than to help the environment – an issue that can be resolved if there is large-scale promotion of solar and…

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