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Solar power plant being installed at Parliament House

22 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: A 1.8 megawatt solar power plant is being installed here at the Parliament House building.

Chinese-funded solar panels on Parliament House in Islamabad will save $1m in annual energy bills, reports The Guardian newspaper.The initial cost - which is being funded by the Chinese government as a friendship gesture - is estimated at $60m.

This is the first project of its kind (in a public building) in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis.China recently helped Punjab province set up a solar park of over 10,000 acres (around 4,000 hectares) with potential to generate 1,000 MW.

Meanwhile, some experts hope that the high-profile example set by the government in Islamabad will encourage uptake of domestic solar energy kits for individual households.The solar energy plant will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as overcoming the frequent and prolonged power outages that affect the buildings, he added.

Promoters of solar power see an opportunity, despite the lack of infrastructure. Iftikhar Ahmad Qaisrani, founder of the Renewable Energy Society for Education, Awareness Research and Community Help (RESEARCH), an Islamabad-based organisation representing the renewable energy sector, said Pakistan is blessed with 320 days of sunshine per year and around eight hours of sun per day.

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