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EditorialThe Imminent solar revolution

The Imminent solar revolution

If one starts counting benefits of solar energy, one will surely find a long list of advantages of this cheap source of energy compared to conventional methods of producing electricity depending on costly fuel. Thus it’s inevitable that the government resorts to using this source of energy in the best interest of the nation. Lately, Pakistan’s energy and economic sectors have a good news as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has okayed 10,000 MW of solar energy projects that will initially cater to government offices, tube-wells and domestic consumers’ needs. The implementation of the initiative likely before the next summer will help reduce Pakistan’s carbon footprint as well as cut imported fuel use.

According to a recent World Bank study, Pakistan has huge solar resource potential. By utilizing just 0.071 percent of the country’s area for solar PV, the government can meet current electricity demand. With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation, which can help ease prevailing energy crisis that poses a threat to the country’s economy and stability. Amid the debilitating energy crisis, the use of solar energy is a ray of hope. The utilisation of renewable energy resources, both on a large and small scale will help decrease the suffering of citizens due to the power deficit and outages. The government should not hesitate to take up projects aimed at exploiting solar energy potential. The sun is the most reliable renewable energy source we have and solar installations can produce virtually free power for a hundred years following the initial installation costs. This is also the most affordable option for electrifying far-flung areas where small and scattered communities live. The cost of energy produced through solar and wind power is more feasible and affordable compared to electricity produced by conventional thermal power plants running on fossil fuel and which then has to be transported to such remote areas, an enterprise whose per capita cost is prohibitive.

Like other new technologies that are helping us limit our reliance on fossil fuels, solar energy is still costly and will take time to become a household word. But it has immediate benefits to society due to its comparatively quick installation. The utilisation of solar, wind and other such renewable energy resources must be welcomed. At the same time, the government should not abandon the long term and cheap power generation option of hydel power. At the national level, all political parties should support all efforts by the government to build solar power plants and the scope of solar power should be extended to the whole country. The government needs to introduce policies to encourage citizens to opt for renewable energy sources in homes and commercial buildings. They can optimise solar energy by using their roof spaces and the government should extend every possible help in this regard. The government should not hesitate to take up solar power projects because of initial high costs because their lifetime utility and low running and maintenance costs make them affordable. It is the need of the hour that the government should divert its energies to better utilise this natural source of producing electricity.

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