Islamabad, (Parliament Times) : An agreement to set up a 300KW Solar power plant at the Sahiwal Campus of COMSATS University Islamabad was signed on Thursday at the Islamabad Campus of the later. The Solar power plant which will take 26 weeks to commission, will generate around 8.8 million units of electricity during the course of the project. The project will save around 5266 tons equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions, which would have been generated ordinarily, for producing the same amount of electricity through fossil fuels. Regarding the carbon footprint, it was also informed that the impact of the power plant is equivalent to planting 11,000 full grown trees.
The agreement for establishing the solar power plant came as a result of negotiations of the CUI Directorate of Planning, Development and Human Resource Development, and DCH Solar Giga Pvt. Ltd. on the public private partnership model. The plant is optimally expected to supply 430,000 units of electricity annually at an average price of Rs. 11.08 per unit to CUI. The cost that will be recovered for the initial 10-year period will be through sale of electricity priced at Rs. 16 per unit of electricity used, which is expected to drop to Rs. 6 per unit in the last 10 years of the concession period. CUI is currently purchasing electricity from MEPCO at a price of Rs. 25.79 Rs per unit.
According to the agreement, DCH Solar Giga Pvt. will secure financing and set-up the powerplant at the Sahiwal Campus and recover the capital cost over a period of 20 years by supplying low-cost electricity to the Sahiwal Campus. The project is part of the green initiatives undertaken in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, whereby clean, renewable energy will be produced on the various campuses of COMSATS University Islamabad.
Dr. Tahir Naeem, Director, P&D and HRD, CUI, informed the meeting that the project is a shining example for the public sector for deploying affordable, clean, renewable energy generation at zero cost to the public exchequer. He said that the project envisaged shifting of around 30 percent load of electricity at the Sahiwal Campus initially onto solar power, which will yield commercial benefit to both parties. He said that CUI will similarly attract private enterprises to undertake joint projects in renewable energy on similar lines at other campuses, which is also an expression of CUI’s commitment towards attaining Sustainable Development Goals.
Prof. Dr. Muhammad T. Afzal, Rector CUI while speaking at the occasion informed the meeting that renewable energy is a subject of intensive research around the world. He said while solar technology will have remarkably advanced during the course of the project, it is hoped that the grid will also be upgraded from time to time adding additional capacity in due course. Prof. Afzal said that diffusion of renewable energy for high-tech applications in furnaces and industry is the need of the hour. Pakistan has been naturally endowed with ample sunlight around the year which needs to be adequately harnessed at the commercial and household levels, he added.
The agreement was signed by Prof. Dr. Saleem Farooq Shaukat, Campus Director, CUI Sahiwal and Azeem Arif, Assistant General Manager, DCH SolarGiga Pvt. Ltd. Senior Officials of COMSATS University Islamabad also witnessed the ceremony.
Participants were informed during the signing ceremony that the private party will also ensure the free of cost repair and maintenance of the power grid while upgrading it subsequently. Furthermore, it was also informed that the energy produced during off-days on campus will be supplied to the main grid and benefit CUI at the rate of Rs. 10 per unit, along with savings through reverse metering and add to the national grid capacity.