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Varsities power shift: Solar energy to save Rs256 million annually

LAHORE:20 February: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar on Wednesday said 10 major universities of the province, including Punjab University, will be switched over to solar energy in the first phase of a scheme, saving Rs256 million annually. “A total of Rs6.41 billion will be saved in 25 years,” he said during a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing ceremony held at Governor House. The Department of Energy and Punjab University signed the MoU under the project to convert all public sector universities to solar energy on the occasion. Punjab University Vice-Chancellor Dr Niaz Ahmed and Punjab Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (PEECA) Director-General Adnan Mudassar signed the MoU in the presence of Governor Sarwar, Punjab Energy Minister Dr Akhtar Malik and Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) for Energy Irum Bukhari. In a first, Sindh to auction solar power project The governor called for an immediate review of all the costly power generation agreements signed by the previous government. Sarwar further said all universities in Punjab would be switched over to an independent electricity system and not a single penny of the public exchequer would be spent in the process, instead private institutions would make the initial investment. The project would ensure the provision of inexpensive electricity to the varsities and add saved energy to the national grid as per the prime minister’s vision, he added. “LED lights and air-conditioners with inverter technology will have to be installed along with the shift to solar energy to help conserve 20% electricity every year.” He also called for a dialogue with representatives of private universities to discuss the shift in the power system. While responding to a question the governor said power generation through the sun, wind and water is indispensable to ensure low-cost and environment-friendly electricity. “It will not only help save billions of rupees of Pakistan but also abolish oil import bill on account of power generation.” President calls for switching to solar energy Dr Akhtar Malik, the Punjab Minister for Energy, said the present government has lifted all solar energy systems related restrictions imposed by the previous government to grant favour to the Independent Power Producers (IPPs). In addition to universities, we are also planning to switch overall public sector departments to solar energy, the minister said. We have launched a pilot project at the University of Engineering and Technology and it is ensuring an annual saving of Rs17.08 million, while in Punjab University this project would help save Rs42.7 million every year. The ACS for energy later tweeted that the MoU was signed for installation of a 2.5MW solar system at Punjab University. ublished in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2020.