Published on February 25th, 2016 | by James Ayre1
Pakistan’s Parliament Now Powered 100% By Solar Energy
Pakistan’s parliament building in Islamabad, the Majlis-e-Shoora, now receives all of its electricity via solar energy — following the completion of a 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic rooftop project there.
The new rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) array feeds directly into the building’s power supply, giving the building (more or less) immunity to potential grid supply issues. The completion of the project means that the country’s parliament building is the first in the world to be powered 100% by solar energy. (There’s a large solar PV array on the roof of the Israel Knesset building, but this only supplies around 10% of the building’s electricity usage.)
The $53 million solar project — which was first announced last year, shortly after a visit by China’s president Xi Jinping — feeds the electricity that’s generated but not used by the parliament back into the national grid. Parliament members met last week in the building for the first time since the project was finished, with no hitches reported.
The country’s special secretary at the National Assembly, Munawar Abbas Shah, noted that it was important to finish connecting the project before summer hits — as the parliament building can consume over 2 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity regularly during this time.
Shah also noted: “This is the first project of its kind in a public building in Pakistan, and later more public buildings will be converted to solar power to overcome the energy crisis.”
With the ubiquitous grid-reliability issues in the region, this goal isn’t a surprising one — and an example of where solar PV systems and arrays likely make the most economic sense.
The new system is expected to save the parliament house around $1 million a year on electricity costs.