FPCCI’s Presidential candidate Atif Ikram Sheikh on Thursday said Pakistan is among the most promising countries for solar energy, but instead of benefiting from this source of unlimited energy, it is being discouraged.
Solar consumers are being cheated and now such policies are in the offing which will wipe out the existence of this important industry, he said.
Taking to an emergency meeting, Atif Ikram Sheikh said that the energy needs of the country are increasing but the unlimited resource of solar energy is not being given importance like oil, coal, gas and LNG while the import of costly fossil fuels worth billions of dollars continues.
He said that India has announced incentives worth Rs19,500 crores to encourage solar energy. An investment of Rs94,000 crores is expected in the sector after incentives which will also provide employment to almost one million people and reduce their import bill, but the opposite is happening in Pakistan.
He said that solar energy can play an important role in generating millions of megawatts of electricity, saving precious foreign exchange, tackling the threat of climate change and improving the quality of life of people living in remote areas, but this requires friendly laws which is not the case in Pakistan.
Solar consumers are facing systemic exploitation, imports of solar panels etc. have been stopped under various pretexts, solar companies are going bankrupt, banks have refused financing while Nepra on the behest of DISCOs is working to reduce the profits of solar consumers which will discourage them.
The central bank initiated a very attractive scheme of long-term subsidised financing in 2016, available for solar installations at rates as low as 3-4 per cent with repayment periods extending up to 10-12 years. This funding is now no longer available through commercial banks,
The business leader said that the price of electricity is continuously increasing in the country, but electricity is being bought cheaply from consumers who use net metering and now it is being reduced further.
Consumers of net metering generate electricity for themselves and sell the surplus to the government to help it overcome shortages.