Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated on Friday the first phase of the Quaid-e-Azam solar power project at Bahawalpur which will add 100 MW electricity to the national grid by the end of this year. The country’s first solar power project will have 400,000 solar panels at a cost of $131.15 million, according to an official statement.

The project is a joint venture of the Punjab government, Bank of Punjab and M/s TBEA of China, which will eventually produce 1000 MW in two and a half years. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Sharif said the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor, with a total investment of $33 billion, is an example of the very close friendship between the two countries. The 2,100 km Pak-China Economic Corridor would include special economic zones, a railway system and model city, airport and free port at Gawadar, Karachi to Lahore Motorway and many more projects.

“Since Pakistan’s creation, 23,000 MW electricity has been produced, while we are planning to add 21,000 MW to the system in the next eight years,” he said. As the country is reeling under a power crisis, he

said, “I do not want to give my nation any false hope, but after seeing the pace of work on power projects, soon the people of Pakistan will observe a considerable reduction in load-shedding,”

A 1320 MW Port Qasim power plant was recently inaugurated and 10 power projects at Gaddani Power Park will add 6,600 MW to the system.

Apart from this 10 coal based power plants in Thar, based on indigenous coal, each of 660 MW, 2,640 MW projects in Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Jhang and Muzaffargarh, will reduce the demand supply gap, he

added.

The first phase will be completed in seven months and the largest solar power project in Pakistan will be connected to the national grid.