ISLAMABAD-The Alternative Energy and Development Board (AEDB) is drafting policy measures under which the regulations have been relaxed to encourage the local private companies to manufacture solar panels and related equipment in order to promote the use of green and clean energy and effectively meet the country’s increasing need for energy, reported WealthPK.

Fahim Ahmed, Electrical Engineer at the AEDB, told WealthPK that the RFP (Request for Proposal) document is almost complete and is expected to be released by the end of November. Private companies will be invited to submit bids for renewable energy (RE) production under the RFP. Developing privately owned projects to produce renewable energy is a significant initiative to address the country’s energy crisis. Explaining the criteria for participation in the bidding process, Fahim said only those companies could join that would be able to produce renewable energy and feed it to the national grid. All the companies would be bound by the NEPRA conditions. After meeting these conditions, the companies that win the projects can produce renewable energy privately.

Fahim explained that most of these projects were proposed by the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) to energy-related public organizations, such as the AEDB and the provincial energy departments. These projects are divided into three categories. The projects that have received the letter of intent (LOI) fall into the third category. In contrast, the projects that comply with the NEPRA’s tariff requirements and will proceed based on these tariffs fall into category two. Furthermore, the projects that have received a letter of support (LOS) are grouped into category one. It is anticipated that the authorities will prioritize these categories in different phases.

The AEDB official said solar panel production is a capital-intensive enterprise because of high cost of solar cells. The private companies in Pakistan only assemble solar panels. The current high prices create a win-win situation for the Pakistani solar companies. As the demand for solar panels is very high, the companies can produce solar cells locally and profit from the high prices. Fahim said to promote the manufacture of solar panels and allied equipment in Pakistan, a workshop was organized by the AEDB in which many private companies participated under the umbrella of Solar Association of Pakistan and Renewable Energy Association of Pakistan (REAP) to find a way forward for strengthening the renewable industry in Pakistan.

The participants highlighted the current status and the prospects for renewable industry in Pakistan and the expected demand for solar installations in the following years. He said the participants also highlighted that the government could offer certain tax incentives and duty-free import of inputs, plants, and machinery to promote the renewable energy industry. Pakistan has the raw material reserves for manufacture of solar cells and can support their local production in phases depending on the facilities provided by the government.