Nearly 4,000 new net metering licenses have been issued in Pakistan in the July-September quarter, up from 2,000 in the same quarter last year. Vast majority of these are for solar photo-voltaic installation. Net metering solar installations are in addition to the rapidly growing off-grid solar panels across Pakistan. Higher electric utility (DISCO) bills and lower cost of solar panels appear to be driving the adoption of solar in Pakistan. Net metering allows users with private renewable energy production plants to connect to the electric grid and sell excess power to the local electric utility or DISCOs such as K-Electric, LESCO or IESCO in Pakistan.
|Net Metering Installations in Pakistan. Source: Jeremy Higgs
This year has seen the fastest growth in net energy metering (NEM) growth since Pakistan launched its first NEM policy in 2015, according to data shared by Jeremy Higgs, director of operations for Islamabad-based EcoEnergy. Total number of net metering installations in Pakistan is about 16,000, according to Jeremy Higgs. National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) issued 3,334 net metering licenses with total installed capacity of 56.86 megawatt under the net-metering regime during 2019-20, according to an October, 2020 news report.
|Net Metering Installations By DISCOs in Pakistan. Source: Jeremy Higgs
Surprisingly, Pakistan's biggest city Karachi is lagging significantly behind Lahore and Islamabad in net metering licenses. Nearly 25% of all net metering licenses in Pakistan were issued by LESCO (Lahore Electric Supply Company) in the July-September quarter. IESCO (Islamabad Electric Supply Company) has handed out 20% and K-Electric (Karachi Electric) 15%.
|Top 10 Solar Energy Countries in 2017. Source: USAID
Back in 2017, Pakistan was ranked among the top 10 countries for investment in solar PV projects below 1 MW. Pakistan PSLM/HIES 2018-19 survey results revealed that 15.2% of all households are using solar panels as a source of energy for their homes.
|Pakistan Solar Panel Imports in Millions of US Dollars. Source: FBS Via Pakistan Today
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province leads the nation with 40% of all households using solar energy. Rural Pakistan is embracing solar power at a faster rate than Urban Pakistan. Adoption of solar in rural areas of KP is at 43%, Sindh 33.9%, Balochistan 20.4% and Punjab 7.9%. Rapid decline in cost of solar panels appears to be driving the adoption of solar in Pakistan's rural areas where grid power is either unavailable or unreliable.
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