Pakistan and China have started construction on what will be the world’s largest solar park, 100 megawatts, a pilot project with 400,000 solar panels, the first solar power plant built in Pakistan. Spread over nearly 500 hectares of flat land in the Punjabi desert, it will be known as the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Park (QUASP).
It will replace solar in the Mojave Desert in California at the top of the rankings.
The $ 130 million project only took Chinese company Xinjian Sunoasis three months to build it. And this is only the first part of a larger project. When the project is completed in 2017, there will be a total of 5.2 million photovoltaic cells producing up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power some 320,000 typical homes.
Built in a desert area that receives 13 hours of sunlight a day, it’s a great place for solar power. According to QUASP CEO Najam Ahmed Shah, this will make energy in Pakistan much cleaner by reducing around 57,500 tonnes of charcoal burned each year and reducing carbon emissions by 90,750 tonnes per year. It will also help Pakistan meet its goal of reducing oil use to 60% by 2025, from 87% currently.
But the project has its detractors. Some experts claim that the project is built too far from where the energy will be consumed and requires expensive network infrastructure and subsequent maintenance.