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Government to Revisit Solar Net Metering Policy, Says Energy Minister

Government to Revisit Solar Net Metering Policy, Says Energy Minister

Policy Revision Announcement

Federal Minister for Energy Sardar Awais Ahmad Leghari has announced plans to review and potentially revise Pakistan’s solar net metering policy. Speaking at a press conference alongside Minister of State for Finance,

Revenue, and Power Ali Pervaiz Malik, Leghari highlighted the current issues with solar net metering.

Thorough Review and Stakeholder Involvement

Leghari stated that the policy would undergo a comprehensive review, incorporating input from all stakeholders, within the next two months. The government is conducting detailed studies to assess the impacts of increasing rooftop solar electricity generation, the return on investment for solar equipment, and the effects of solar panels on local electricity prices.

Balancing Interests

The minister emphasized that Pakistan’s approach would involve a balanced analysis similar to other countries’ solar net metering systems. He assured investors that the government would protect their interests, refuting any false reports suggesting otherwise. Existing agreements between investors and companies will remain unchanged.

Cost of Solar Panels and Investment Recovery

Leghari noted the significant drop in solar panel prices over the past one-and-a-half years, which has reduced the investment recovery time from approximately three years to one and a half years. This change reflects the evolving economic landscape of solar investments.

Historical Context and Current Status

The minister recalled that the PML-N government promoted solarization in 2017. Currently, 113,000 connections operate on net meters. Leghari affirmed the government’s commitment to supporting solar net metering,

promoting renewable energy, and combating power theft to reduce the financial burden on the national budget.

Electricity Demand and Generation

Leghari reported an 8% reduction in electricity demand, with the current power demand at 19,000MW while Discos (distribution companies) generated over 16,500MW. However, due to “economic load-shedding” on feeders with high losses, there is a deficit of over 4,000MW.

Addressing Power Sector Challenges

To reduce losses in the power sector, the energy minister underscored the importance of continuing the nationwide anti-power theft campaign. He also acknowledged billing issues in many Discos and announced plans to form new boards to run these companies independently.

Future Outlook

Looking ahead, Leghari mentioned that Pakistan aims to resolve the power crisis by completing various hydroelectric power generation projects within the next six to seven years. This long-term strategy is expected to enhance the country’s energy security and sustainability.

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