Pakistan is now one of the few countries in the world to have access to high-quality solar energy maps, which can help increase the country’s renewable energy output, and expand the access to sustainable and affordable sources of energy for its citizens. They can also be used for planning and prospecting purposes and held investors in decision making.
The solar maps are a result of a collaboration between the World Bank and the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB).
The World Bank installed nine solar measurements stations in various places across the country two years ago to collect general field data. The solar maps were made using this data and used the latest solar resource modeling techniques based on 18 years of satellite and global atmospheric data gathered between 1999 to 2916.
The solar maps were made available on March 7th, 2017 during a workshop hosted by the AEDB and the World Bank in Islamabad. The event was attended by a cross section of stakeholders who were made aware of the ground-based measurement campaign and the different options for continued operation of the nine solar stations in Pakistan. Apart from making informed decisions regarding solar energy in the country, the maps will also help larger solar power projects obtain commercial financing by reducing the resource risk.
“These new solar maps will definitely ensure qualified improvement vis-a-vis previous studies, and will underscore the tremendous solar potential that exists across Pakistan,” said Amjad Ali Awan, Chief Executive Officer of AEDB.
According to Anthony Cholst, Acting Country Director for the World Bank in Pakistan, because of the decreased cost of solar power over the last few years, Pakistan now has an opportunity to delve into solar energy investments without needing subsidies. “The World Bank stands ready to support the federal and provincial governments in realizing this objective, alongside the support we are already providing for development of hydropower, sector reform, and the strengthening of the transmission grid. It is time to realize the full potential of this clean and secure source of energy,” he said.
The solar data and maps can be accessed for free at the Global Solar Atlas website.