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Solar power plants: Reon Energy CEO urges government to arrange bank financing

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Solar power plants: Reon Energy CEO urges government to arrange bank financing

The government should arrange bank financing for users to install solar power plants at residential, commercial and industrial level, suggested CEO Reon Energy Inam-ur-Rahman, here on Monday. Talking to a group of journalists here at his office, the Reon chief said that he had been in talks with a number of banks which were showing interest to finance solar energy related projects.

“Consumers feel that the initial installation cost of a solar panel is higher, but once it is set up, it would continue to produce electricity for some 20 to 25 years. With the passage of time the cost of power generation would come down to minimum level,” he said.

The government has formulated effective policies for alternative energy-related projects in the country, but there are some technical and commercial challenges for their implementation, which need to be resolved on priority basis, he urged. For sustainable long term economic growth, Inam said, it is imperative that policy makers enable programs that support the energy demand of large scale businesses.

The government has exempted customs duty and sales tax on the imports of equipments like power panels, and inverters etc. “This incentive would help encourage the people who are keen to invest in this power sector in Pakistan,” he said. He also proposed the government to arrange bank financing for users to install solar power plants on residential, commercial and industrial level.

“National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had approved the Net Metering system in September last year. The purpose of this regime was to allow consumers having surplus power from their solar panels to sell electricity to DISCOs. But the policy is yet to be implemented apparently due to concerns raised by the power distribution companies,” he deplored.

Elaborating the Net Metering system he said a consumer has to install a meter capable to record power flows in both directions. The meter will have to be purchased from an authorised company, he said. Similarly the Power Wheeling system would enable the IPPs and other power producers to sale their additional electricity to any consumer on agreed tariff, he said. Solar Energy would soon be an affordable power alternative to our country’s lingering energy needs. Reduced capital expense has made it really attractive for industrial and corporate users, he added.

“Pakistan is located in a region with ample sun energy that makes it suitable to utilise solar power technologies to overcome the energy crisis. The largest businesses today are effectively making use of solar energy to power their operations, he said. He said that financial institutions and international development organisations must play a significant role to help the renewable energy industry advance beyond its nascent stage in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2016
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