Should you go solar in Karachi?

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif recently inaugurated the Quaid e Azam Solar power project located in the middle of Cholistan desert. The solar power project has a capacity of 1000 megawatts electricity when fully completed however, the initial phase will set forth with 100 megawatts.

A feature written in favor of solar panels for home consumption. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA
A feature written in favor of solar panels for home consumption. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA

The project is one of the first Pakistan government project and the largest in the world.

The projection of solar energy and the shift from traditional sources like coal and water to solar and wind tells the ample benefits of the source.

That is just one part of the picture. It has been known from some time that Independent individuals are fighting the war against energy crisis by getting themselves solar equipped.

Naveed Iqbal, an electrical engineer from NED University has recently implemented a solar system worth 200K at his home. He says the system has been providing remarkable performance ‘It normally provides up to 50 per cent of the energy, however during power failure the load can be born up to 100 percent all by the solar system’.

Pakistan has two types of solar systems as an electrician, waqar, at Rabia City says. China made is the cheapest however, they do not have the guarantee that most buyers seek. He says the second lot is high quality China made or japan made solar systems that are highly priced, but are long lasting.

Naveed also claims he has used high quality solar panels for his home that provide 1KW energy for the whole house.

However, only solar panels will not provide energy for the whole house. If one transcend to Electric market in Saddar shopkeepers will tell you that the solar panels are just one aspect of the whole system. ‘Other than that’, Gibran another electric energy enthusiast says, ‘you have to include the invertor for keeping energy at a pace and battery for storage of energy’. All those combined can increase the price to around 100K at lowest, he adds.

‘If one is serious about going solar, the best place to start is by starting low’ haris Jameel, a B.com student with interest towards science adds. Haris has been making a solar system for his apartment however; he is focusing on just one room to start with. He adds ‘By going small you minimize the risk of burning the electric fuse. Moreover it is also light on the pocket’.

Interestingly, the solar power concept has also penetrated the rural area of Pakistan.

Mir Hassan Rajar, a villager of Ali jo dar, asserts that his village doesn’t have a proper power supply. ‘We had to walk to the second village that is around 20 minutes’ walk’, however, the solar plates that cost around 7000 rupees each have solved the problem.

Mir adds other villagers are also buying the solar plates, as they are beneficial for small appliances and are long standing.

Back in Karachi, there have been cases where K-electric employees have raided the houses that were totally on solar. Nevertheless, one doesn’t need to be afraid as only those houses were raided who had cut down the electric connection by the K-Electric.

As per Gibran, ‘solar panels will not make you arrested. The only changes of detention are if you have not given the taxes of electricity.’

Naveed is no different in opinion however he adds, going fully solar has its impracticalities as the maintenance cost exceeds the total cost of electric consumption.

He adds though wind power in complement with solar is the best solution. As with solar alone you will need a large battery pack because no sunlight is available at night. However, with wind power as a complement it will be beneficial as its the most windy at night.

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