AGRICULTURAL development schemes for the next fiscal year will include new initiatives to facilitate a greater use of solar energy on farms and fields with active financial support of banks.
The Sindh government is in talks with at least two foreign companies to explore new ways of harnessing solar power. And its planning and development department has been working on modalities of public-private partnership projects in this regard. “The USAID partnership with Pakistani banks (for clean energy project financing) is one of the many funding sources we can rely on. Besides, ADB has also agreed to partly fund such projects. In the next budget some projects will roll out,” a senior Sindh government official told this writer.
Late last year, the USAID signed $88m funding agreement with five banks in Pakistan (HBL, MCB Bank, Faysal Bank, Meezan and JS Bank) to help finance establishment of small-scale clean energy projects.
In Punjab, the provincial government is set to re-launch, with the help of some foreign fund providers, an old scheme to convert hundreds of thousands of conventional tube wells on solar power. The ongoing scheme of selling solar-powered tube wells at subsidised rates will also continue.
The KP government has also announced a similar plan. The provincial chief minister informed media some weeks ago that his government was in talks with the World Bank to seek funds for farmers who are willing to replace their electricity-fed tube wells with solar-powered tube wells.
And, Balochistan government’s negotiations with Canada for setting up solar power plants of 50MW in 20 districts are progressing well, officials say.
Industry sources say some new initiatives to promote local manufacturing is on the cards Pakistan’s clean energy programme.A USAID report on Pakistan’s alternative energy prepared in 2016 says solar energy programme has enough potential that can be harnessed with a mix of right policy measures and foreign and local entrepreneurs’ participants.