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What is solar energy? 10 Important things to know photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system

What is solar energy? 10 Important things to know photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system

In short, solar energy systems also known as solar panel systems, solar power systems, solar photovoltaic systems or solar PV systems convert sunlight (a form of energy) into electricity. You can use the electricity produced by your solar photovoltaic (PV) system to power your house, or your business.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the energy emitted from the sun (a natural nuclear reactor). Our planet captures more than billions of photons (tiny packets of energy) from the sun every day. These photons control the climate and support life on earth. 

Where can we use solar panel system?

Today, solar panels or solar energy systems are used for several purposes, which fall into these three main categories:

Residential solar energy systems: Residential scale solar panel system typically ranges between 1 and 20 kilowatts (kW) where you can mount solar panels on your roof or in open ground.

Commercial solar energy systems: Commercial scale solar PV systems are larger than residential solar energy system and are installed on commercial properties for electricity purposes.

Utility solar energy systems: Utility scale solar power systems are typically larger than the rest. Their installations can produce electricity starting from a few megawatts (MW) up to gigawatts (GW) range. They are used to provide solar energy to a large number of utility customers.

How Solar Energy Works

1.     Solar panel systems help you reduce or eliminate your bills.

If you are a homeowner or a business owner, utility (electricity and gas) bills take up a huge chunk out of your monthly income/ savings. Through solar financing, adding a customized solar energy system to your property can drastically reduce or even eliminate your utility bills and you can start seeing immediate savings.

2.     Solar power system saves you from load shedding.

If you have a solar energy system installed, you do not need to worry if your utility has a blackout. Load shedding does not affect you and your family in any way when you are on solar.

3.     Solar panel system gives a great return on investment.

Installing a solar panel system provides an even better return than stocks and prize bonds. Moreover, it is hassle free, compared to all the running around you will be doing when you are playing in the stock market. It is the right time to make that investment, as solar photovoltaic technology is improving day by day, solar energy systems are becoming cheaper and more durable.

4.     Solar photovoltaic systems have become more and more robust.

Solar PV panels are made of hardened glass and can withstand all weather conditions (snow, rain, and high winds). They can even extend the life of your roof by protecting it from daily wear and tear. They are becoming more and more durable due to technological advancements in the solar industry.

5.     Solar energy systems can produce electricity for more than 20 years.

Most solar panel manufacturers offer 25 years product and performance warranties, which guarantee that their panels will continue to generate electricity for 25 years.

6.     Solar photovoltaic panel systems require little or no maintenance.

Except for unforeseen circumstances, solar PV panels are almost maintenance free. All they require is periodic cleaning, usually two times a year.

7.     Solar PV panels can be installed almost anywhere in Pakistan.

Being a solar-rich country, most locations in Pakistan get enough sunlight to produce sufficient electricity from solar panels. The most important factors to consider when you evaluate your solar panel options are the rate at which you pay your electricity bills, your site-specifications, and the incentives available to you.

8.     Solar energy systems can be grid-tied or off-grid.

Depending on your selection, you can choose to remain connected to your utility’s grid in case you want to sell your excess electricity. Alternatively, you can choose to completely go off-grid and be independent from any grid outages and blackouts.

9.     Solar power systems helps you save money

There are plenty ways in which you can save money by installing solar energy systems. One way is by selling by excess and unused electricity back to the grid. You can gain credits from your utility company, which can help you in times of need. Another is in terms of your property value, if your house has a solar power system installed, it will fetch a better price in the real estate market.

10.  You can install solar panels anywhere on your property.

Solar panels can be installed practically anywhere on your property, provided that area receives direct sunlight for most of the day and is not shaded by trees or buildings. Most panels that face south will produce the most electricity, but your panels can also face other directions depending on your location.

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Solar Energy Keeps the Environment Clean

Solar Energy Keeps the Environment Clean

Renewable solar energy protects the environment and keeps it pollution-free.

‘We’re losing the race’: UN secretary-general calls climate change an ‘emergency’.

A 2012 study titled ‘Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in Pakistan’ by an international development agency called USAID reported that Pakistan’s GHG profile is dominated by emissions mainly from the energy sector which contributes 46% to the total GHG emissions.

Pakistan’s GHG emissions had grown 87% within a span of 12 years that is from 1990 to 2012. The average annual change in total emissions during this period was 2.9% with the energy sector leading the annual change with 3.8%.

Although Pakistan’s contribution to global GHG emissions is less than 1%, it is among the most vulnerable countries facing the threat of climate change. According to the German Watch Global Climate Risk Index (2018), among the 10 countries most affected from 1997 to 2016, Pakistan is at the seventh position with an annual death toll of approximately 523 lives which totals to a loss of 10,462 lives in 20 years and economic losses worth $3.8 billion.

Many Pakistani property owners especially homeowners are choosing to go solar because they are focused on minimizing environmental issues like climate change and health problems related to GHG emissions. According to a research-based survey conducted on 300 households in Lahore by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the average household emits approximately 2.6 metric tons or 0.0026 gigagrams of carbon pollution each month.

With every owner (residential, commercial or industrial) that has a solar energy system installed on their property, promote a cleaner environment and make a positive and long-lasting impact on Pakistan. By installing a solar energy system, a typical four-person household can reduce its carbon emissions by more than four tons annually.

How, exactly, does a solar energy system reduce GHG emissions? The electricity that solar panels produce is completely CO2 free. When you use a clean and renewable resource like solar energy to meet your energy needs, you reduce the demand for electricity from your fossil fuel (coal, crude oil, and natural gas, etc.) driven utility. As a result, your power plant emits less carbon when producing the power needed to meet customer demand.

By 2030, the government of Pakistan plans to reduce national GHG emissions by 20%. One way this is being done is by promoting renewable energy especially solar among homeowners, business owners, and factory owners. Given the current circumstances, the impact of your decision as a real estate property owner to use solar as your main source of electricity could be very significant for Pakistan and its people.

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Solar Energy Creates Jobs

Solar energy creates jobs and boosts local economy.

The financial benefit of using solar energy creates a compelling argument for homeowners and businesses, and the overall economic impact of solar is just as positive. To know how economic impact of solar is positive, we need to look at Pakistan’s available statistics.

According to the statistics report presented by World Energy Outlook, at least 27% of Pakistanis live without access to electricity. Another study sponsored by International Finance Corporation (IFC) presents a bleaker picture by reporting 36% Pakistanis have no electricity.

A published research by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics states that as of June 2018, Pakistan’s population has reached 212.82 million people with an unemployment rate standing at 5.79%.

Keeping the above statistics in mind, if more and more Pakistanis were to go solar, the solar energy industry would grow thereby creating a national industry which would provide high-quality employment opportunities across the country.

Based on the ‘Demand-Supply’ principle, if more property owners (buyers) go for solar, more low and middle skilled workers (sellers) will be providing this service. This way the solar energy economy could offer more opportunities and better pay. Many solar installers who own locally owned businesses will flourish if you supported them by bringing more money into local economies.

Solar Provides Employment

The best part is that as more Pakistanis embrace energy independence by adopting solar power and other renewable energy sources, the effect will be seen throughout the market; an increase in solar energy produced during peak hours, such as a scorching hot summer day, equals decreased utility grid demand, and decreased utility grid demand means lower costs of energy during peak hours. The reality is that solar has the potential to bring the price of energy down for every person across Pakistan.

In 2012, even Saudi Arabia, one of the largest oil producers in the world, recognized the economic and political advantages of energy independence and announced a goal to increase its solar capacity to 41 gigawatts (GW) by 2032.

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Pakistan Energy Labels: Electric Fans

Pakistan Energy Labels: Electric Fans

A Step-By-Step Guide

Pakistan Energy Labels - Electric FansFor the Pakistani fan manufacturers and importers, the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) came up with a voluntary labeling scheme also called Pakistan Energy Labels (PEL) for energy efficient products and equipment. This scheme started recently and is valid for a period of 2 years after which its validity is either renewed or extended.  A cushion is provided to you, as manufacturers on withdrawing from the PEL scheme altogether provided a three months’ prior notice is given to NEECA along with a public notice. During the course of the scheme implementation, NEECA has the right to revise, amend or terminate the scheme altogether as and when required.

Under the conditions of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, 2016, NEECA has the authority to evaluate, monitor and supervise the scheme implementation and effectiveness. For the purpose of evaluation, NEECA would require the following from the product manufacturers.

  1. Visibility on the impact on product sales,
  2. Energy consumption,
  3. Manufacturing and other associated Costs,
  4. Product consumer buying patterns,
  5. Manufacturing oversight,
  6. National energy consumption,
  7. Environmental assessment and benefits.

Application Submission & Processing Guide

Pakistan Energy Labels: Electric Fans

Prior to getting the “Pakistan Energy Label” (PEL), the local manufacturers or importers of appliances, equipment or products need to apply to NEECA for equipment registration. This article entails a step-by-step guide on how this can be achieved as per approved process flow.

The applicant can down the application from the NEECA website (neeca.gov.pk) under the “Energy Standards and Labeling Section”.

Complete and correct application along with “Label Registration License Fee” of Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 5,000/- (Rupees Five thousand) needs to be deposited in the form of a nonrefundable Payee Account Demand Draft in favor of “Energy Conservation Fund”.

The data required in the application includes answers to company information, product energy efficiency test results from an accredited and approved ISO/ IEC 17025 testing facility are essential for the application to be accepted. The applicant must ensure that the data provided in the application is accurate so that the information on the Label reflects the high quality standards.  

After the application is submitted to NEECA, it will be checked for completeness and then registered in the database for further processing.

A 15 working days processing time is required by NEECA for the complete evaluation and status confirmation of your application. In case the application does not meet the requirements, NEECA will provide the reasons of rejection to you for rectification. Afterwards if you apply the corrective actions to your previous application, you can submit the revised application to NEECA for a reassessment.

If the products or appliances whose energy efficiency parameters vary. Then the applicant needs to ensure that a new PEL application is submitted to NEECA for processing.

The term of the scheme is for two years after which the applicant would be required to submit a renewal fee of PKR 5000/-.

What are Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)

Minimum energy performance standards or short for MEPS are specifications containing several performance requirements or limits for any equipment which uses energy. These standards are there to define performance limits of the equipment, such as the energy consumed by a Fan for working 8 hours on a hot humid day. In most developed nations, MEPS are a mandatory requirement by a country internal energy efficiency body. These requirements are there to ensure that energy efficiency and conservation is properly maintained and boosting the country’s energy independence.

Pakistan Energy Label: Electric Fans Approval Requirements

To be able to participate in the PEL scheme as an applicant you must ensure that your specific fan(s) model obey and meet the requirements of “Pakistan Standard – PS:1/2010” (Performance and Construction of Electric Circulating Fans and Regulators).

In the PEL publication, NEECA has shared the reference energy performance limits and service values which will determine the star ratings of your AC electric fan(s). In the table below, the energy efficiency levels of AC electric fans have been divided into 3 levels or A 3 Star rating fan is the most energy efficient. Higher the energy efficiency, greater the stars.

It is very essential to understand that as a consumer you need to look for the fan with the best rating. That means that you will be saving your own electricity bills by an energy efficiency fan. Here are some considerations which you need to understand before you purchase a fan:

Fan Type      –         Depending on your requirement and consumption

Sweep Size –         Size of the Fan in terms of Blades measured in millimeters  

Fan Efficiency in Cubic meter per minute per watt – Energy Efficiency Set Limits based on your Requirement

MEPs Fans
Source: NEECA’s “Scheme Outline for Voluntary Pakistan Energy Labels for Electric Fans (Issue No. 06)”

NEECA’s technical evaluation committee will review and analyze the application along with the test reports of the fan model. Afterwards, depending performance limits or service values of the AC electric fan(s), a star rating will be allocated along with the overall approval of that particular fan model. This means that the particular fan model has been given the PEL sticker which can be applied on the fan itself.

Attaching the Pakistan Energy Label on your Fan

In this section, we will understand where the Pakistan Energy Label or the energy star rating will be attached. Note that once all approvals and permissions are given to your specific fan model. The star rating sticker will be attached on the enclosure of the fan-motor and printed on the packing. The idea is to ensure that the PEL later is clearly visible and identifiable by the end consumer.

As you look as the picture of a 3 Star Sticker, you will notice the size, dimensions and the sticker details. Using the appropriate and approved sticker and color code is very essential. These details can be read further in this link.  

Energy Star Rating - NEECA

Energy Star Rating - NEECA2

Source: NEECA’s “Scheme Outline for Voluntary Pakistan Energy Labels for Electric Fans (Issue No. 06)”

NEECA’s Security & Consumer Verification Scheme

NEECA also plans to add a digital security sticker near to the star rating labels by the manufacturers. The NEECA security sticker will have the QR Code and a digital identification feature. This feature will help the consumers with the verification and authentication of the star energy rating. Though these stickers will be shall be provided by NEECA, the applicant and the recipient of the star energy label will have to pay the security sticker charges of PKR 10/- (Rupees Ten) per sticker per product.

NEECA Security Sticker

Source: NEECA’s “Scheme Outline for Voluntary Pakistan Energy Labels for Electric Fans (Issue No. 06)”

Domains of the Fan Manufacturers and National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority

NEECA’s Responsibilities

NEECA has taken the responsibility to ensure that all information provided by the applicant will be kept confidential and will not be misused. NEECA also plans to set up an star rated equipment and products database which will be open for the consumers’ assurance. This information has been made available on the Authority website website. The authority will be responsible of collecting information, annual volume of products and/or imports regarding Efficiency standards and labels (ES&L), through best practices. These would include specific questionnaire or other methodologies, from manufacturers, importers, related associations. NEECA will also verify the effectiveness of introduction of ES&L framework and shall make the results public.

The authority will also be responsible to designate its resources in collaboration with Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and carry out random audits to verify the compliance by the fan manufacturer or importer. NEECA has provided predefined checkpoints, which include the following:

  1. Pattern/design of label
  2. Validity of authorization of label users
  3. Label contents
  4. Manner of display of label
  5. Acceptable verification test at an ISO and IEC 17025 accredited lab (Frequency  of the Audits are decided by NEECA)

Fan Manufacturer/ Importer’s Responsibilities

As a fan manufacturer or importer, you need to guarantee that your product documents and data are correct and accurate. As the product manufacturer or supplier, once approved, you have the right to distribute a copy of the Pakistan Energy Label information poster or brochure on your catalogs and profiles. This will help the buyers and consumers decide which product is more energy efficient and approved.

Read More about Pakistan’s Energy Independence…

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Pakistan’s Energy Independence

Pakistan’s Energy Independence

Renewable solar power makes energy independence possible.

Our planet captures more than billions of photons (tiny packets of energy) from the sun (natural nuclear reactor) every day. These photons determine the climate and support life on earth. Even though the sun is the massive source of energy, its benefits have not been exploited to its full potential.

It is estimated that Sixty Four Thousand (64,000 km²) square kilometres or Twenty Five Thousand (25,000 mi²) square miles of solar panels (an area roughly half the size of Thar Desert in Sindh), can generate abundant electricity to power the whole world. By investing in solar power, you can help take advantage of the sun’s abundant resources and bring Pakistan one step closer to energy independence. 

Energy independence is the goal of reducing Pakistan’s dependence on foreign energy imports, particularly imported oil, coal and petroleum. Economically, supply and price stability drive the concept of energy independence. With a more diverse array of energy sources to draw upon, Pakistan can become more secure in these economic considerations. Politically, energy independence will allow Pakistan to remain politically flexible in international relations.

Global energy markets are notoriously volatile, and changes in prices can have a significant effect on the Pakistani economy. You are experiencing this fluctuating trend in many forms; if we look at the average closing price per barrel of crude oil every year in the international market, we see a significant rise. From the year 2000 to 2018, crude oil prices have risen from $30.38 to $64.90 per barrel. Note that in 18 years, the price has more than doubled.

This fluctuation has an impact on our daily lives. We all buy oil from countries to satisfy our thermal energy needs. Why is that? Wouldn’t it be better to be energy independent?

The adoption of solar energy is increasing in Pakistan. Just look back 10 years; there were fewer renewable energy systems in Pakistan than they are at the present moment. So, at least things are moving in the right direction. When we expand our capacity to generate electricity using solar, we inherently protect ourselves from the ever-changing unstable market fluctuations and ensure a clean and sustainable source of energy for the future.

The best part is that as more Pakistanis embrace energy independence by adopting solar power and other renewable energy sources, the effect will be seen throughout the market; an increase in solar energy produced during peak hours, such as a scorching hot summer day, equals decreased utility grid demand, and decreased utility grid demand means lower costs of energy during peak hours. The reality is that solar has the potential to bring the price of energy down for every person across Pakistan.

In 2012, even Saudi Arabia, one of the largest oil producers in the world, recognized the economic and political advantages of energy independence and announced a goal to increase its solar capacity to 41 gigawatts (GW) by 2032.

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Going Solar Increases Your Property Value

Going Solar Boosts Your Property Value

An installed solar energy increases property value by 3-4%

According to Pakistan’s largest property portal zameen.com, Pakistan’s high inflation makes it appear that home prices are increasing strongly. But reality that is not the case. Nationwide house prices rose by 5.05% to PKR 10,875/- (US$ 77) per square feet (sq. ft.) during the first quarter of 2019.  However when adjusted for inflation, house prices actually dropped 3.98% over the same period.

Among multiple studies carried out in developed nations, a recent research by an affiliate of U.S Department of Energy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) shows that homeowners who have installed solar energy systems on their houses can sell their property at a higher price compared to those without one.

LBNL’s 2015 report studied sales of solar-equipped homes in eight different U.S states over 11 years with the goal of determining just how much value solar adds to a home’s sale price. The key finding: on average, homebuyers are “consistently willing to pay PV home premiums” of approximately PKR 700/- ($4) per watt of installed solar capacity.  

For a standard 6-kilowatt (6 kW) solar panel system, this means that solar can add approximately PKR 3,900,000/- ($24,000) to your home’s resale value. Although this study is carried out in the U.S, it holds value in Pakistan’s real estate sector indicating a positive trend. 

Giving one simple example, suppose you own a house in F-7, Islamabad where an average monthly rent of a 1 kanal (20 marla) house without a solar energy system is around PKR 200,000/-.

If you were to install a solar energy system on your house, you would firstly be inviting more prospective tenants and also dictating your monthly rent. If by thumb rule of 3% along with the rent. there were a solar energy system installed on your home you could drive up the rental income by (plug and play) and want to give it on rent. Your prospective renters would pay you more because it ensures their convenience by not paying high utility bills.

Seeing the current market trends, buyers are keenly taking more interest in properties with solar installations and as homebuyers become more educated about solar, demand for properties equipped with solar energy systems will continue to rise.

As of August 2019, Pakistan’s inflation rate stands at 11.63 percent. Don’t worry you have no direct control over inflation; It’s the government that makes the policies and drives the economy.

Ask yourself a hypothetical question; is the cost of a Toyota Corolla the same it was twenty years ago? Common-sense says it’s not. Why is that? This is mainly due to inflation.

Taking this example, just imagine what would your utility bill be, say five (5) years from now? The current market trends indicate they would definitely be much higher. Over the last ten (10) years, electricity prices have risen up at an average of nine percent (9%) annually and the utility companies are known for their fluctuating and unreliable prices. 

The typical Pakistani home spends about PKR 180,000/- annually on electricity. If you buy a system that meets 100 percent of your electricity needs today, you will have an extra PKR 180,000/- in your pocket a year from now.

The following year, when prices rise up by 9%, you’ll save about PKR 196,200/-. Your savings will continue to grow for the 25+ years that your panels generate electricity, adding up to well beyond PKR 4,905,000/- over the lifespan of your system.

Even if you don’t have enough money to buy a solar energy system up front, you can still reduce energy costs by financing your solar panel system with a solar loan. Most solar financing options require no down payment and reduce your monthly expenses from day one of installation. As an added benefit, your monthly energy costs will no longer fluctuate – they will simply be the monthly

Now your expenses are:

  1. Predictable
  2. Lower than your conventional utility bill
  3. Consistent over time, without any fluctuations or increases

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Relief from Utility Inflation

Relief from Utility Inflation

By using solar you protect yourself from rising utility costs

As of August 2019, Pakistan’s inflation rate stands at 11.63 percent. Don’t worry you have no direct control over inflation; It’s the government that makes the policies and drives the economy.

Ask yourself a hypothetical question; is the cost of a Toyota Corolla the same it was twenty years ago? Common-sense says it’s not. Why is that? This is mainly due to inflation.

Taking this example, just imagine what would your utility bill be, say five (5) years from now? The current market trends indicate they would definitely be much higher. Over the last ten (10) years, electricity prices have risen up at an average of nine percent (9%) annually and the utility companies are known for their fluctuating and unreliable prices. 

Relief from Utility Inflation

The typical Pakistani home spends about PKR 180,000/- annually on electricity. If you buy a system that meets 100 percent of your electricity needs today, you will have an extra PKR 180,000/- in your pocket a year from now.

The following year, when prices rise up by 9%, you’ll save about PKR 196,200/-. Your savings will continue to grow for the 25+ years that your panels generate electricity, adding up to well beyond PKR 4,905,000/- over the lifespan of your system.

Relief from Utility Inflation

Even if you don’t have enough money to buy a solar energy system up front, you can still reduce energy costs by financing your solar panel system with a solar loan. Most solar financing options require no down payment and reduce your monthly expenses from day one of installation. As an added benefit, your monthly energy costs will no longer fluctuate – they will simply be the monthly

Now your expenses are:

  1. Predictable
  2. Lower than your conventional utility bill
  3. Consistent over time, without any fluctuations or increases

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Solar Saves Money by Reducing or Eliminating Utility Bills

This topic explains how and why solar saves money by reducing or eliminating your utility bills

“Considerably reduce or completely eliminate your utility (electricity and gas) bills with solar energy”

If you own a property (residential, commercial or industrial) in Pakistan, utility bills take up a huge portion out of your monthly budget (income or savings). In Pakistan, utilities which are supposed to be a basic commodity are very expensive and not everyone can afford paying such high prices every year.

A study by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), an independent and non-partisan think-thank shows that energy demand in Pakistan is increasing every year by more than nine percent (9%) and is likely to increase 8-fold by 2030 and 20-fold by 2050 in Pakistan.

One of the major reasons of using solar is that you can to considerably reduce or significantly eliminate your utility bills. A lot of research is being carried out in developed countries like the U.S to prove just that, even though utilities are comparatively stable and predictable there.

For a Pakistani homeowner, an average monthly electricity bill of Pakistani Rupees fifteen thousand (PKR 15,000/-) adds up to PKR one lac and eighty thousand (PKR 180,000/-) in twelve (12) months. Further adding that up (without considering inflation) in twenty plus (20+) years amounts to PKR thirty six lac (PKR 3,600,000/-).

To summarize, you’ll be paying your utility companies (IESCO, LESCO, K-Electric, SNGPL, etc.) PKR 180,000/- each year and in twenty plus years you will be paying them PKR 3,600,000/-. Using a customized solar energy system makes you less susceptible to the rising cost of utilities and even takes you out of this cycle.

By using solar energy, you can eliminate your utility bills completely or reduce them considerably until they are no longer a significant factor in your budget. Your savings with solar depends on different factors, like how much energy your system produces and how much you consume, but the biggest factor is the rates you would otherwise pay to your utility.

Ask yourself a hypothetical question; is the cost of a Toyota Corolla the same it was twenty years ago? Common-sense says it’s not. Why is that? This is mainly due to inflation. Don’t worry you have no direct control over inflation; It’s the government that makes the policies and drives the economy.

Taking this example, just imagine what would your utility bill be, say five (5) years from now? The current market trends indicate they would definitely be much higher. Over the last ten (10) years, residential electricity prices have risen up at an average of 9 percent (9%) annually and the utility companies are known for their fluctuating and unreliable prices. 

Keeping this in view, if you invest in a solar energy system now, it would first pay off your utility bills plus it would also keep you secure from unpredictable and additional expense you incur in the next twenty plus years.

With solar, it makes perfect sense to be less dependent or completely independent of your utility service provider. It also provides relief to your utility companies by removing blockages and bottleneck in their distribution network. So you’re helping Pakistan as well.

Note that an average lifecycle of a solar energy system is over twenty years. Even if you aren’t hundred percent (100%) on solar, you can still save money by lowering the units you consume through your local utility. 

Reducing high monthly expenses sounds logical and makes perfect sense. What if, the utility service in your area is down? 

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Why Go For Solar: 8 Important Benefits of Solar Energy

Why Go Solar: 8 Important Benefits of Solar Energy

There are several reasons why property (residential building, commercial building, and industrial building) owners in Pakistan are choosing solar. The most common factors include improving the environment and reducing utility (electricity & gas) bills. Many building owners are conscious of the fact that by upgrading to solar, their buildings or homes will be more efficient and environment-friendly while also improving their property (real estate) value.

To understand why any Pakistani need to go for solar power, we have prepared a detailed list of benefits that will motivate everyone (include you). Here are the top eight reasons and benefits of solar energy being the best option for your building.

1. Saves Money by Reducing or Eliminating Utility Bills

If you’re a homeowner or a commercial property owner, utility (electricity and gas) bills take up a huge chunk out of your monthly income/ savings. Let’s assume your monthly average electricity bill is Pakistani Rupees Fifteen Thousand (PKR 15,000/-). Adding that up to twelve (12) months becomes PKR One Lac and Eighty Thousand (PKR 180,000/-) and further adding that up (without considering inflation) to twenty (20) years amounts to PKR Thirty-Six Lac (PKR 3,600,000/-).

To summarize you are paying your utility companies PKR 180,000/- each year and in Twenty years you will be paying them PKR 3,600,000/-.  

Adding a customized solar energy system to your property can drastically reduce or even eliminate your utility bills. According to research, even if you aren’t completely dependent on solar energy, you can save as least PKR Five Thousand to Ten Thousand (PKR 5,000/- to PKR 10,000/-) monthly. Calculate that over a year and that corresponds to PKR Sixty Thousand to One Lac Twenty Thousand (PKR 60,000/- to PKR 120,000/-). 

Note that an average lifecycle of a solar energy system is Twenty to Twenty Five (20 – 25) years. Even if you aren’t 100 percent (100%) on solar, you can still save money by lowering the units you consume through your local utility. 

Reducing high monthly expenses sounds logical and makes perfect sense. What if, the utility service in your area is down?  Doesn’t it make sense to be independent financially and commercially?

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2. Relief from Unpredictable Utility Inflation and Load Shedding

A. Inflation

Let us ask you a hypothetical question; is the cost of a Toyota Corolla the same it was Twenty years ago? Common-sense says it’s not. Why is that? This is mainly due to inflation. Don’t worry you have no direct control over inflation; It’s the government that makes the policies and drives the economy.

Taking this example, just imagine what would your utility bill be, say Five (5) years from now? The current market trends indicate they would definitely be much higher. Over the last ten (10) years, residential electricity prices have risen up at an average of 3 percent (3%) annually. The utility companies are known for their fluctuating and unreliable prices. 

Keeping this in view, if you invest in a solar energy system now, it would first pay off your utility bills plus it would also keep you secure from unpredictable and additional expense you incur in the next twenty years.

With solar, it makes perfect sense to be less dependent or completely independent of your utility service provider. It also provides relief to your utility companies by removing blockages and bottleneck in their distribution network.

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B. Load Shedding

Pakistan faces supply-demand parity, lack of rural electrification due to a low transmission and distribution network and grid proximity. Seventy percent (70%) of Pakistan is rural and overall grid connectivity stands at forty-two percent (42%) to date.

There are several reasons for the high cost each Pakistani has to bear some including inadequate development infrastructure, shortage of investment, lack of essential resources and security, etc. In short, most Pakistanis including you are going through load shedding.

If you’re a homeowner with a fluctuating income stream, going solar also helps you better forecast and manage your expenses.

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3. Little or No Maintenance Costs

General maintenance of a solar energy system has never been easier. You don’t need to be an expert in rinsing the solar panels with water two (2) or three (3) times a year. It’s a piece of cake.

With more technical matters, you are always covered by a warranty. Warranty is also one of the most important factors when you choose a solar panel. Most solar power manufacturers guarantee their product life ranging between 20 to 25 years.

The only thing you need to be careful about is the warranty clauses of the manufacturer. That helps you determine what’s covered and what isn’t. Choosing a well-known and reputed company will be important for you as they will honor your warranty.

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4. Increases Your Property Value

According to research carried out by the U.S Department of Energy, homeowners who have installed solar energy systems on their houses can sell their property at a higher price compared to those without one.

Given one example, suppose you own a house in F-7, Islamabad with an installed solar energy system (plug and play) and want to give it on rent. Your prospective renters would pay you more because it ensures their convenience by not paying high utility bills.

Seeing the current market trends, buyers are keenly taking more interest in properties with solar installations and as homebuyers become more educated about solar, demand for properties equipped with solar energy systems will continue to rise.

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5. Gives Excellent Return on Investment (ROI)

Modern advancements in the solar energy sector have drastically reduced equipment (solar panels, inverters, batteries, etc.) costs. Think of your home solar energy system as an investment which unlike stocks and prize bonds guarantees returns on a monthly basis. 

Depending on your location, an average homeowner can off their investment in their solar energy system in about six to eight years.

There are a few factors that will impact your ROI. Depending on these factors, you can calculate your return on investment by dividing your yearly financial benefits by your initial expense on your solar energy system. 

6. Take Benefit of Government and Private Incentives

The government of Pakistan had created the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) for the sole purpose of facilitating the public.

As of 2015, the government of Pakistan guarantees, subject to certain conditions, a 16 percent $-indexed return. With cost benefits also given to the import of solar energy equipment.

There is also a provision of Net Metering, which works on the principle of selling your solar electricity generation back to the utility company. Any power you generate and don’t use flows back into the gird, and you receive a credit from your utility company for that power.

If you’re on a vacation for a week, your solar energy system will be supplying all your electricity to the grid. That way when you come back you’ll be at ease that you’ve saved money. 

7. Promotes Pakistan’s Economy

A. Making Pakistan Energy Independent

Our planet captures more than billions of photons (tiny packets of energy) from the sun (natural nuclear reactor) every day. One recent study found that Sixty Four Thousand (64,000 km²) square kilometers or Twenty Five Thousand (25,000 mi²) square miles of solar panels (an area roughly half the size of Thar Desert in Sindh), would generate sufficient electricity to power the whole planet. 

In this century, our economies are more tightly connected than they ever were before. We depend on others to fulfill our economic requirements. Although to be globally connected is a good thing, the downside here is the fluctuating and unstable market prices.

About a hundred (100) days ago, oil prices were different than they are right now. We all buy oil from countries to satisfy our thermal energy needs. Why is that? Wouldn’t it be better to be energy independent?

When we expand our capacity to generate electricity through solar, we also protect ourselves from those price fluctuations and ensure a sustainable source of energy for the future.

Even Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, recognizes the economic and political benefits of energy independence and has announced goals to build solar energy power plants, thereby increasing their capacity to 41 gigawatts (GW) by 2032.

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B. Creates Employment and Boosts Local Economy

The solar energy industry is a national industry that provides high-quality employment opportunities across the country. Based on the ‘Demand-Supply’ principle, If more people (buyers) go for solar, more people (sellers) will be providing this service. This way more people will work to sustain them.

There is good news for the economy and the environment as the solar energy sector is rising and is becoming one of the key sources of energy in Pakistan.

8. Protects the Environment

In recent news, U.N’s Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres says climate change poses a “global risk” and that ‘We’re losing the race’.

Pakistan’s contribution to global emissions is less than 1% while it is among the most vulnerable countries facing the threat of climate change. According to the German Watch Global Climate Risk Index (2018), Pakistan is at the seventh position with a death toll of 523.1 lives per year – ie loss of 10,462 lives in 20 years – and economic losses worth $3.8 billion.

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8 Important Reasons to Go Solar

Wouldn’t it be great to know why solar is one of the best options you have out there in the market? This article will explain in detail the 8 important benefits of solar energy.