Electrical energy storage plays a pivotal role in the decarbonization of the power sector by providing a carbon-free energy source and ensuring the effective utilization of renewable energy resources. Approximately 57% of emissions can be reduced through energy storage technologies (Maryam Arbabzadeh, 2019). This ground-breaking technology allows for the integration of several renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. It holds great potential in contributing toward the net-zero coalition (the target of reducing carbon emissions as close to zero as possible) aimed to be achieved by 2050.

Energy Storage Technologies

Several types of energy storage technologies can be utilized to incorporate the required flexibility in the power network to facilitate more renewable integration. Thermal energy storage traps heat from the sun and stores it in the form of molten salts, water, or other fluids to convert for use later. Pumped hydroelectric energy storage allows storing energy as water, through two reservoirs situated at different altitudes. One of the most common energy storage  technologies today is electrochemical in nature. This type of storage uses an electrochemical process to store electrical energy. Most common electrochemical storage units are based on flow and Lithium-ion batteries.

Introduction to Reflex

At Reon, we have introduced Reflex Energy Storage incorporating the Li-ion battery to enhance the power network flexibility for industries. Reflex Energy Storage, coupled with intelligent Spark Microgrid Controls, allows for improved efficiency and leads to savings in energy costs up to 2%.


Reon’s Vision for Pakistan’s Energy Crisis

Reon firmly believes that the initiation of storage technology projects on an industrial scale, especially in the combination of solar and wind energy projects, can change the dynamics of the organizations and the power sector. It increases the reliability and flexibility of the electrical grid. This leads to an alternative source of energy supply, which can also be treated as backup support during power outages. In addition to this, the storage technology also allows for reduced capital costs spent on coal and biomass for the burners. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and assists in achieving a carbon-neutral global economy.

At Reon, we work towards supporting industries in their shift towards energy storage technology to help develop a clean & sustainable energy supply. It is crucial for consumers, especially in the industrial sector, to realize that energy storage technology is the future. This is the path that leads to efficient energy utilization and effective cost savings.



Maryam Arbabzadeh, R. S. (2019, July 30). The role of energy storage in deep decarbonization of electricity production. Retrieved from Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-11161-5

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Reon Energy, with its 1.86 MW project, completed the first SBP Category 3 Financing project in May this year. This marks a milestone for Sustainable financing in Pakistan. Find out how Reon Energy can help you avail renewable energy financing for your business.  


The State Bank of Pakistan’s Financing Scheme for Renewable Energy is an initiative designed to promote renewable integration in the economy. The Scheme has already generated significant interest among sponsors and suppliers of renewable energy.  

Under Category 3 of the scheme, energy suppliers certified under AEDB can gain financing from SBP. This provides lower-cost electricity to clients looking for “Opex Solutions” for their “Opex Problem” of rising electricity tariffs. 

The financing is available for leasing of renewable energy equipment or sale of electricity to the ultimate owners with a capacity cap of 5MW per project. 

Reon is proud to be the first energy supplier to gain financing under category 3 of the scheme to finance a Power Purchase Agreement of 1.85MW for a Multi-National Corporation in Pakistan. 

The project will result in significant savings for the client compared to Grid Tariffs and helps achieve the renewable ambition of reduced carbon emissions. 

In line with the above, Reon intends to expand its reach through this scheme and already has 10MW+ projects at different stages of the pipeline.

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Mujtaba Haider Khan is the CEO for Reon Energy Limited, the largest industrial solar solutions provider in Pakistan. Reon is a part of Dawood Hercules Group.

Mujtaba took over the company reins in October 2016 and has managed to turn around the decentralized solar market’s landscape in the past 16 months.

He has served as the Head of Strategy for Dawood Hercules as well as the Head of Strategy and Transformation for BT Fleet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Telecom in London. He started his career as a software entrepreneur at the age of 19. His area of expertise includes growth strategy, start-up, and cost transformation.

BR Research set down with him for a chat on the need for renewable energy in Pakistan, and Reon’s business activities especially in the past few years. Here are edited transcripts.

BR Research: Last year, a headline on NYT said: “Smog has become a fifth season in Lahore”. This year, it is worse. The world is grappling with the consequences of climate change. Is Pakistan under threat of an environmental crisis?

Mujtaba Haider Khan: We are already there. At a recent conference on healthcare in Lahore, a cancer surgeon put up images of lungs of two cancer patients. He asked the audience: “spot the smoker”. No one could. The statistics say that 50 percent of lung patients nowadays are non-smokers. It used to be a lot lower before. The cause is poor air quality. One could argue it is the crop burning in Delhi but that has always been there. What have been added on top are the fossil fuel plants we are burning and the cars we are running. The crisis is staring us in the face.

The big problem is that we are not pricing our costs correctly. We are not incorporating the negative externalities when we set the tariffs. There is demonstrable research on the perils of fossil power to the environment. A recent study conducted by the World Bank puts the cost of environment degradation from burning fossil fuel at 10 percent of the GDP for China, and at 7.5 percent for India. If China has on average been growing by 6-7 percent and the cost for environment pollution is 10 percent, they are witnessing negative growth. When they realized this, they kicked into action. It’s not about loving the environment-there is a huge economic cost.

In terms of healthcare costs: India has put the cost of fossil fuel power plants at 4.5 cents per kWh, in China, that cost is 7.7 cents per kWh. If we add that to the tariff of the current plants, we will immediately see it become lot more expensive. If the current tariff is around 8 cents per kWh for energy plants on coal and gas, adding the healthcare cost would bring it up to 12 cents per kWh. Compare that to the solar tariff which is under 5 cents per kWh. This is when one starts seeing the real comparison. We have to incorporate the cost of that lung on the monitor.

BRR: Tell us about Reon’s background and your current business model.

MHK: Reon was set up about six years ago to work on innovative models in energy as part of Dawood Hercules group. We had a vision on moving towards more sustainable means of addressing our energy needs. We also recognized that spending millions of dollars in setting up a power plant, then laying a thousand kilometers of cable to send that power to another end of the country is very inefficient. The longer the length of the cable, higher the losses.

Our two mandates were renewable power that was clean and sustainable, and, distributed power. We started experimenting with different technologies such as bio gas, solar tube-wells, solar lanterns and we also started installing solar power for industrial customers. Naturally, as the startup evolved, we found that industrial solar showed great promise because the segment was paying very high prices, faces load-shedding, has an unstable network, and received low quality power. Industry was feeling the pinch. This was the time when exports were declining, gas was short, and we did not have a lot of power in the system.

So today, we are the largest installer of solar and solar-hybrids (for consistent supply, solar is either balanced with the grid, with batteries, or with diesel/gas generators where grid is not available) for commercial and industrial customers.

BRR: What is the market size of solar, the market demand and which segments are you currently targeting?

MHK: Solar sizing is limited by two things: first, demand as measured by customer size, and second is availability of space. The only problem with solar is it takes too much space so it either needs rooftops or land to put in a solar plant. Based on both those constraints, roughly 2-2.5GW is where the industry puts the market size in Pakistan. This is only for large commercial and industrial base where each industry should be able to absorb at least a MW of power.

The demand of electricity would be around 23 GW, and the installed base is slightly below that. We know that large portions of that is consumer demand, and around 30-40 percent is commercial and industrial. On overall demand basis, that’s around 8GW of power which can be absorbed by industries. A large part of that is the long-tail which is the SMEs. That market requires a different business model. We realize that there is a big problem to solve when it comes to SMEs as they have limited access to banking and financial products to be able to afford investment into solar.

Our other focus is customer on the distribution side so for instance telecom customers who have telecom base transceiver station (BTS) sites. In Pakistan, we have roughly about 35000 BTS sites and we are the largest installer of solar systems on them. On a typical site, there are multiple sources of power because for telecom companies, availability is crucial. When the tower doesn’t have power, it loses revenue. We are using a combination of solar, lithium ion batteries, grid power and even diesel generators to assure 100 percent availability. The diesel generator is the misfit here and we are trying to eliminate that by enhancing the size of solar and batteries.

BRR: What about local manufacturing? Do you see that happening for solar, and/or for batteries? Are there any local ancillary industries involved?

MHK: We have very limited manufacturing base for solar in Pakistan. For any manufacturer to start competing with the large Chinese players, he needs demand in large volumes which is the biggest limitation here. In batteries as well, our manufacturing caters to the old lead-acid batteries which have a very short shelf life so has to be replaced every year or couple of years which is a big cost for the customer. Secondly, there is the depth of discharge-only 50-60 percent of the capacity available on the battery is usable.

As for lithium ion batteries, the manufacturing process is very expensive for which large investment is needed, and requires a supply chain. You need access to specialist material used which are only available in certain parts of the world such as lithium (Chile and Argentina) and cobalt (Congo). You may also need to acquire certain patented formulas. However, I’m sure when the volumes reach a certain level, there will be investment.

BRR: At what volumes do you think these investments can come in?

MHK: My estimate is roughly around 200MW of guaranteed demand. That’s the minimum level you need to reach to be able to put up a panel manufacturing factory. But there is no guarantee that it will produce a product cheaper than China. In China, the largest manufacturer, Ginco Solar, last year manufactured around 11GW. We are talking about minimum viability at 200 MW so there is a massive difference in scale. It will be very hard for local players without protection early on from the government to be able to scale to that level and compete with the Chinese.

BRR: Tell us about some of the projects you have undertaken in Pakistan.

MHK: Currently, we are working on 30 MW of distributed solar. Easily the largest is about 12.5MW captive project for Fauji Cement where solar is synced with grid-they will be saving a lot of money. We have a 5MW project in Thar where we will be selling power to Sindh Coal Mining Company for a 15-year period. We also have several other megawatt plus scale projects. This is an industry of exponential growth. The number of projects we are doing this year is 3 times what we did last year.

BRR: Aside from structural issues within the energy sector which are well-documented, what other challenges are you seeing?

MHK: Right now, I see repeating a huge mistake that we made in the past. In the 90s, we set up furnace oil plants on technology which was dead-end and was environmentally polluting. It was also the most expensive fuel and the consumer has been paying the cost of that lopsided decision. Now again, to the detriment of everyone, we have seen a mad rush toward fossil fuel on long term take or pay contracts. We have locked 25-30 years power purchase agreements (PPAs) where not only the capacity charge is guaranteed but the energy charge is also guaranteed. This means, we have to pay for the fuels when the plants are not running.

In a world where the energy market is moving toward wholesale, which means, you sell your power to the wholesale market and you get what the market is going to pay you at a certain time, we are handing out 30-year PPAs as a nation. And that too in an environment where technology is progressing at a very fast pace.

For large scale power plants, it takes 4-5 years to get everybody to agree on the technology, the money, the debt terms, the regulatory processes etc. By that time, the technology has moved on. Compare that to renewable distributed power. First: the project can happen within six months of agreeing all the details-from the time when the customer starts thinking about it to getting the power in the system could be less than one year. Second: we are injecting power into the grid. We know the transmission and distribution system is overloaded. NEPRA report says 80 percent of transformers are overloaded. We have all this power which cannot be evacuated because we don’t have the transmission capacity. And the great thing about distributive power is that you can go to the source and get past all that distribution and transmission constraint and evacuate power at the local level.

Going forward, the government should shorten the length of the contract. There has to be some guarantee for people to make the investments but after that period has lapsed, which can be 10-15 years, the investor should have to sell it to the wholesale market. We know the government is keen on setting a wholesale power market. The Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has already received the first license to act as the wholesale market operator in the country. This needs to be accelerated.

BRR: Solar tariffs are significantly lower, so why aren’t we going solar?

MHK: Yes, solar and wind, both at the local level and the utility level are the cheapest. The short answer is uncertainty. In an uncertain market, people will keep the cash and not invest it. Similarly, in Pakistan, over the past 6-8 months, we have gone through elections, even before that, we were in a fairly uncertain environment. Since elections, people are waiting for policies to be announced to come up with a plan.

As a nation, we have been playing safe and there is a reluctance to go to something new, even though it’s not new around the world. In Germany, these plants have been running for 30 years, still operating at 80 percent capacity. It’s a safe, robust technology but in Pakistan, since we are so behind the curve, the comfort level the industrial sector has in this technology is lower. It’s only after players such as Fauji Cement have taken the first step to install 12.5MW of Solar Power that others are exploring it as a big move in the local industry. When they see a plant at this scale, getting integrated at a local level successfully, then you will see momentum.

BRR: Can the existing captive power plants be switched to solar?

MHK: One of the things we specialize in is integrating solar and battery with the client’s legacy power access. We recently started a 2MW extension project for Kohinoor Textile Mill. Local fuel sources such as gas and furnace oil and solar fits seamlessly with them. Most of our projects have an element of integration for existing captive power plants.

BRR: Prices of solar technology have come down. Where do you see the prices of solar moving?

MHK: There are two elements of the prices coming down in the past few years. One is that panels are getting more efficient. For the same space, you can pack in more power, so they are becoming land and cost efficient. Secondly, as they scale, production efficiencies kick in and prices come down. In terms of efficiencies, we are approaching the maximum which is around 30 percent for current set of products. Volumes are also significantly up.

Over the short term, we see prices stabilizing at this level at least for the next 3-4 quarters. In the long term, the projection is downward but not at the same pace as we previously witnessed because of the cap on the efficiency of these panels. Unless there is new technology which can be made commercially available, the cost curve will become less steep.

But as volumes grow costs of production declines. This is called the Swanson’s law which says, if solar capacity is doubled, costs of production will be down by 18-20 percent. The similar law applies for batteries. There is a big surge in demand for batteries where a lot of countries are moving toward battery run electric cars, and may be phasing combustion engines out completely. Right now, 90 percent of all investments is going toward lithium ion batteries (which we use in our mobiles). It’s scalable and we are betting big on it.

BRR: Why hasn’t off-grid electrification picked up given such a large population in the country has no access?

MHK: Nearly, 60 million people are off-grid with no access to any sort of network. There is clear lack of policy in that area. We are talking about a population the size of Turkey which is without power at this point. If you consider, Pakistan’s average consumption is 471 kWh per capita per year. If you want to bring those people up to the level on the same system, it would require at least $2 billion annually in terms of power generation cost. To extend the distribution and transmission system to those people will be disproportionately more expensive. There is a reason why the network is not there.

The only viable way to solve that problem is through renewable power. It can be solar-battery hybrid solutions and island mini-grids which are distributed grids set up for a particular village or district that is off-grid. These grids have solar power potentially combined with biomass and other renewable sources at the local level.

Second, we need to follow Bangladesh’s example. The country set up a Rural Electrification Board specifically for the off-grid population. The sole purpose of that organization is to provide power to areas where it is not available. The country has reached penetration level of 85 percent compared to Pakistan at 70 percent.

So, the government needs to clarify the policy. Secondly, the current incentives are toward IPPs who for decades have received tax holidays and special dividend rates for more investment into large scale power projects. I believe, there should be even better incentivization for the off-grid investors. It is cheaper, more effective, it gets past the transmission and distribution problem, and it’s the only solution available to the off-grid population.

BRR: Why isn’t the private sector lobbying with the government to get solar going and to get these incentives for investors in this tech?

MHK: We are publishing papers and we are using platforms such as Pakistan Business Council (PBC) to get some policy papers out to the government. We have met officials individually but there is only so much a private company can do.

There is a battle on our hands. We know that these contracts on fossil fuels are not done. There is a lobby active right now to get more of these IPPs into the system. We also know there is a lot of effort to get these large scale IPPs on 20-25 years contracts.

BRR: What are two things the government needs to do immediately?

MHK: The government must make one policy with all efforts to maximizing renewable power-especially incremental as well as replacement power. Second, it must set up the industrial base and incentivize the investors and industrialists in Pakistan to cater to that future.


Copyright Business Recorder, 2018

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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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The chief executive officer of the Reon Energy has said the solar power is the ultimate solution for producing cheap electricity to reduce the high costs of power generation and distribution. He told the media in a hotel, “It offers tremendous environmental advantages, besides providing cheap affordable and reliable power. The cost of electricity production and storage, at present, stands at an average 15 and 22 percent. But a smarter use of new solar technologies can help further decrease these costs quite significantly,” he added.

He said his company was one of the pioneering renewable energy companies in Pakistan with technical and financial expertise to design, deploy and maintain operations. “Reon is part of the Dawood Hercules Corporation – which is the single largest contributor to the private energy sector of Pakistan – that controls almost 1,800 megawatts of generation capacity, boasting large-scale ventures such as the Hub Power Company Limited, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Tenaga Generasi Limited and Laraib Energy Limited,” he added.

About the scope of setting up a solar power in Pakistan, he said, “The solar power is an effective solution for producing electricity using the unlimited potential of the sun, while significantly reducing dependence on conventional mediums of energy. The backup batteries help overcome the system’s downtime, in absence of sunlight. Other than the capital expenditure at the beginning of the project, unrestricted electricity can be used throughout the life of the solution. In addition to being economically beneficial, solar offers tremendous environmental gains to the community.”

He said the solar powered cellular towers produce their own energy; hence, energy from generators that require diesel would not be needed at the thousands of telecom cell sites all over the country. In case of electricity shutdowns, cell towers would never be affected; and that their performance would remain consistent, providing uninterrupted connectivity to the whole nation.

“The objectives of moving to renewable energy resources are using natural solar power, reducing energy costs, optimising fuel consumption, minimising run-hour of diesel or petrol generators, low maintenance costs, savings in operational expenses and eco-friendly atmosphere that will minimise operational hazards. We aspire to provide this reliable source to electricity to more people in remote locations and rural areas.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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KARACHI:Following the change in technology dynamics, the cellular business sector has come up with a new concept for IT towers. So far more than 10 companies have acquired licences for tower business, among which Edotco and Enfrashare are active players.

Modern inventions like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have completely changed the way of communications for public. However, they have created great challenges for mobile network operators as people now mainly use these mobile applications for most of their communications, making the traditional voice and text services obsolete.

As a result, the mobile network operators (MNOs) are not making as much revenue from voice and text services as they made earlier and in future they might completely lose revenue from the two services.

With the changing dynamics, the cellular companies have shifted their focus more towards wireless internet – mobile data services – as it is needed for every new digital app that has become a necessity now, like ride-hailing apps, communication apps, food service apps and e-commerce marketplace.

All these software, which have made lives easier, need data to be connected, which is why mobile network companies have reformed their business models. “Now, cellular mobile companies are happy to call themselves digital companies rather than mobile network operators,” said Salman Saeed Khalili, Head of Telco at Reon Energy.

Malaysia’s company to invest $100m annually in Pakistan

There was a time, around the end of first decade of the 21st century, when mobile operators competed with each other on the basis of how bigger their network was, said Edotco Pakistan Country Managing Director and CEO Arif Hussain. No company, he continued, wanted to share their towers as that meant losing a competitive edge.

However, each company now has a network of towers in thousands, which is increasing with the growing number of users and new technologies. But that is becoming a burden on them.

Marketing campaigns of Jazz used to revolve around its largest network in the country, which made talking with relatives in far-flung areas more convenient. With the changing scenario, the same company had to deal with Edotco, a tower operating company, headquartered in Malaysia, with its operations spread in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan.

The Malaysian company had to scrap a $940-million deal with Jazz, involving the acquisition of 13,000 cellular towers as approval of the deal was delayed by the authorities.

The company has installed 1,400 towers in an effort to strike a deal with Jazz again or any other MNO for breakthrough. Axiata Group, the parent company of Edotco, is also under the process of merging its operations with Telenor, South Asia.

This transformation has compelled the MNOs to think out of the box and share passive investment in the towers. Pakistan, a country of 208 million people, has achieved cellular subscriptions from 161 million or 76% of the population. The country has 70 million broadband subscribers, including 68 million 3G/4G subscribers.

With the increased number of users and emergence of new technologies like 3G, 4G and most probably 5G, the country needs more and more towers. Currently, the country has 35,000 towers, which are expected to double by 2027.

Engro to invest Rs7.5b in telecom infrastructure

The subscriber density has reached 5,000 users per tower, which is more than double the standard density.

“In developed countries, 2,000 users are connected to every tower,” said Arif Hussain. “This means the country needs more towers in coming years and MNOs can see a significant reduction in capital expenditure and annual operating expenses by outsourcing towers to us,” he said.

MNOs are now outsourcing their towers. In a tower, passive investment, which does not help a mobile network company in generating direct revenue, entails structure of the tower, battery, generator, solar power panel and the guard watching.

Companies like Edotco would arrange these and in return MNOs will pay rent for installing their antenna to disseminate their signals, which then becomes an active investment.

Uptime of towers

Solar power is of great help for towers in far-flung areas. Cellular companies that shared 25% of existing sites on a reciprocal basis have moved towards solar power to ensure uptime – the duration in which the tower remains active.

This was one of the biggest challenges as the country faced electricity shortage for more than a decade, until 2016, when load-shedding went up to 18 hours a day in rural areas, thus affecting the uptime of towers.

Although this was a challenge in cities as well, the situation aggravated in far-flung areas. The network-operating businesses require active signal towers round the clock.

Following the shortfall in electricity supply, a new business, which supplied petrol and diesel to these towers, emerged. However, the system caused trouble for the cellular companies – one of which was fuel theft, as the supplier would write 200 litres of fuel in the books instead of 100 litres that was actually filled in the generator.

Lahore’s tallest building gets green light

Transporting the fuel to the generators in far-flung areas was itself a big challenge as there were areas where motor vehicles could not pass and thus, mules and donkeys had to be employed.

Now, the companies are employing the renewable energy system in great deal, which has resulted in a decrease of up to 30% in average cost per tower, said Salman Saeed Khalili, whose company, Reon Energy, has installed solar panels on more than 250 towers.

He said the renewable energy system would help in maintaining their goal of 99.9% uptime, operating 24 hours a day.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2019.

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KARACHI: ‘Distributed’ power generation, a befitting response to infrastructure deficit and high energy cost, is gaining popularity in Pakistan’s industrial and commercial setups as it entails production near the consumers and is expected to account for 25 percent of energy mix within the next decade, a senior industry official said.

“The cost of solar panels is declining and production efficiency is increasing rapidly,” Mujtaba Khan, chief executive of Reon Energy said. “We estimate the renewable power generation to account for around 25 percent of the country’s power consumption by 2030.”

Consumers are being attracted towards the low-cost power resources. Commercial as well as industrial units are opting for solar-based power generation, which is now the cheapest source of energy and the cost of such production unit has gone below the gas-based power plants. “A number of textile millers have approached us and we are installing solar power generation systems of over one megawatt capacity,” Khan said.

Reon’s revenues grew multiple times in the last couple of years as solar-based distributed generation is gaining wide-scale acceptance.

Distributed generation is cheaper than conventional, centralised generation because it avoids costs of building transmission lines and the infrastructure needed to supply electricity to homes and businesses. Electricity generation, through renewable resources, accounts for less than five percent in Pakistan, which is one of the lowest in the world.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said Pakistan could increase its energy security, improve energy access, and spur social and economic development with renewable energy. Irena, in a latest report, recommended the government to devise a comprehensive distributed power generation plan.

Khan said State Bank of Pakistan, under green financing scheme, allocated six billion rupees to finance renewable energy generation at a flat rate of six percent. “The distributed generation needs an impetus in the form of a properly implemented net-metering policy as presently developing a net-metering facility involves lengthy and complicated procedure,” he added.

Ministry of Energy (Power Division) has already initiated consultative sessions to deliberate upon applicable tariff for net energy delivered by the distributed generations to the grid under net-metering system and whether or not there should be any cap on the capacity to be installed by the distributed generators.

The global distributed generation market is projected to reach to $103.38 billion by 2022 from $60.04 billion in 2017, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 11.48 percent. Growing demand for electric power worldwide and decreasing cost of solar technology are driving the market for distributed generation across the world. Moreover, the commercial segment is expected to hold the largest share of the distributed generation market within next five years.

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Inam ur Rahman CEO, Dawood Hercules Co. Ltd. Some amazing stuff has happened in the world of renewable energy. Almost a month ago, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA – was able to secure a solar tariff of 2.99 Us Cents per Kilowatt hour of electricity from a private developer for a 800MW Solar project. This was not only unprecedented but remarkably came just a year after the earlier project at 5.85 cents was deemed unfeasible by most market players. In an interesting twist, all major players bid less than 5 cents in this phase – and all of this is unsubsidized. What is happening? Is everyone going crazy? This is the cheapest energy available anywhere in the world. Even DEWA has a Coal contract at a much higher price. The next step, I guess is that Electricity will become free.

And Solar is not the only technology with such compelling rates. Wind energy is almost at the same level in certain markets. What is even more interesting is that developed economies are now leading the way by actively replacing thermal plants with renewable energy. They are doing it because it just makes good business sense.

Portugal electricity consumption was fully covered by solar, wind and hydro power in an extraordinary 107-hour run that lasted from 6.45am on Saturday 7 May until 5.45pm the following Wednesday this year. Germany was almost completely (95%) on renewables on May 11 this year. Yes these guys have figured out a way to forecast winds and sunlight to the extent that they can manage impact of intermittent generation. Despite crashing oil prices, the maximum investment in the world in new generation in 2015 was in Renewables.

Sadly Pakistan is falling behind the times on both Wind and Solar. Especially solar is considered unreliable in a country where we have good quality sunlight more than 300 days a year. There is something seriously wrong. I refuse to believe that a nation which is ready to embrace the latest technology in mobile communications and satellite television would not take the leading position in renewables as well. We have everything going for us and the cheapest and most widely available energy source is being wasted on a daily basis.
Governments all over the world have put in regulations and facilities to integrate solar generation in to their national grids. Till our government takes a proactive approach, we will still be burning oil and coal whilst the rest of the world enjoys free electricity from the sun. Or better still – if the Pakistan government deregulates this sector, then the private sector and entrepreneurs will ensure that we are actually rid of load shedding by the time the next elections come around.

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Samir Ahmad
Manager- New Business Ventures

Pakistan’s total generation capacity in 2015 was between 23000 MW to 24000 MW, out of which 66 % was thermal based, 30% was hydroelectric based, 3% was nuclear based and nearly 1% was both wind and solar energy. On an average 3000 to 5000 MW of energy shortfall was experienced by Pakistan in 2015. According to 2014 statistics, a considerable proportion of this power generation was used in powering the commercial and industrial sector of Pakistan, which is our economy lifeline. As a nation, the extent to which our economy depends on fossil fuel based thermal generation marginalizes our energy security at a global level.

Pakistan is one of the most blessed countries when it comes to solar energy availability throughout the year. The solar energy potential ranges from 1500 to 2200 Kwh/m2/ year and varies based on geography, making it the 6th luckiest country in terms of solar potential. Generally speaking the solar energy availability increases from north to south, with the south western part exceeding well beyond the 2200 Kwh/m2/year mark. Germany on the other hand has a solar potential ranging from 1100 to 1300 Kwh/m2/day however already has 39 GWp of solar PV installed mainly due to attractive feed in tariffs.
Pakistan’s commercial & industrial sector (C&I) primarily depends on grid power with diesel generators available for standby power to maintain uninterrupted operations. The price of energy (Kwh) is one of the highest in the region coupled with low reliability makes energy cost for businesses in Pakistan one of the highest operational cost. With highly competitive local and global markets it is becoming more and more difficult for businesses to survive. Finding a solution to this is now imperative at many levels.

One promising way to address this challenge is to increase the adoption of cheap and sustainable forms of distributed generation (DG). Grid connected or hybrid type solar PV generators on rooftops or ground space is one of the best candidate to address this challenge in the C&I sector. The cost of solar PV per KW installed has come down by 80% since 2008. The cost of energy per unit (Kwh) is already much cheaper than current grid prices and makes a very attractive commercial case, however variables do vary from industry to industry. It is important to carry out a detailed technical and commercial feasibility by field experts before implementing solar PV power at your facility. By going solar PV as a captive generator at your facility you are not only locking your energy rates for the long term but also cushioning your business from highly volatile global oil and gas prices. This increases the businesses energy security and gives the business the much needed foresight to its operational cost.

Apart from the commercials there are a number of other advantages that solar PV bring in to the equation. Like reduced dependence on the national grid resulting in increase in national generation capacity, increased reliability of the distribution system on which you are connected, reduced industry internal line losses, internal transformer upgrades can be deferred, drop in cooling requirements in summer as roof is shaded with solar PV modules, significant boost in health, safety and environment of any industry. Most of these advantages also add to the commercial value of going solar while staying connected to the grid.
All of these reasons make solar PV one of the most preferred sources of generation globally. The C&I sector in Pakistan should collectively & aggressively look into promoting & adopting solar PV generation at their facilities by talking to field experts.

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The only distinction between buying and leasing a system is in terms of ownership. In a purchase model, you own the solution; whereas under a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), a third party or the financier owns the solution.

Buying or leasing a solar solution are both decent options if you want to save on your energy costs, help the environment, and become energy independent. It’s essential to consider a Solar Solution Provider with sound recommendation and project base, and your particular financial goals.

Purchasing a solar solution

Outright purchasing a solar solution gives you more in savings over the life of the asset. And can help in reducing your electricity bills by up to 30 percent. Most systems pay for themselves in a period of three to five years.

Cash purchase is beneficial if you want to maximize financial savings from your solar solution.

Leasing a solar solution

If you want to finance your solar solution, you can enter a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) where a financier finances the installation and you pay a monthly payment at an agreed upon rate. Such agreements are spread over a period of 20 years with a full 20-year performance guarantee, remote monitoring and system warranty.

The benefits of a leasing agreement entail zero upfront cost, and immediate financial savings.

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