Sunset on Kumrat Valley, Pakistan. Photo by Abdul Rafay Shaikh on Unsplash
Story Highlights
  • The World Bank is helping Pakistan to develop utility-scale solar power through the US$100 million Sindh Solar Energy Project.
  • The project will improve Pakistan’s energy security and reduce its carbon footprint by generating 400MW of solar power capacity and equipping 200,000 low access households with solar home systems.
  • Laying the groundwork for this project, ESMAP helped the Government of Pakistan map its renewable energy resource potential and is now supporting grid integration, least-cost generation planning, and the expansion of energy access through off-grid solutions.
Solar Energy to Help Meet Pakistan’s Power Demand
October 24 2018

Pakistan is rich in hydropower, solar, and wind resources. However, it has not managed to realize the full potential of these resources due to insufficient investment, infrastructure deficiencies, and the previously high costs for solar and wind. Scaling up solar and wind generation will enable Pakistan to reduce its average cost of generation, increase the supply of electricity, and move away from heavily polluting imported fossil fuels.

Sindh province in Pakistan, with an estimated 47 million people and a large economy centered on Karachi, has abundant solar resource potential and available land. This province is key to increasing the share of renewable energy generation in Pakistan and to developing new ways of providing electricity access.

The newly approved US$100 million World Bank Sindh Solar Energy Project supports the development of solar power in Pakistan with the aim of increasing access and reducing the country’s carbon footprint. It will support the development of 400 MW of utility-scale solar power plants through the introduction of competitive bidding for developers, installation of 20 MW of distributed solar on and around public buildings, and solar home systems for 200,000 households with no or low access to electricity.

The World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) laid the groundwork for this new project by assisting the Government of Pakistan to comprehensively map its solar and wind resource potential across the country. This included the installation of nine solar measurement stations and twelve wind measurement masts, measuring and collecting high quality data for more than two years. The solar data was used to produce solar maps via the Global Solar Atlas, and the wind data will validate the Global Wind Atlas. The first utility-scale solar plant to be implemented under the project, near Hyderabad, will utilize data from a nearby measurement station to confirm resource estimates, allowing for more competitive bids from developers.