Pakistan opens China-built first solar power plant

Islamabad hopes solar power plant will ease crippling power shortages

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the country's first solar power plant in the Punjab province on Tuesday, promising "to eliminate darkness in Pakistan."

100 megawatt Chinese-built solar power plant is also the latest example of a close cooperation with Beijing.

The plant is the first stage of a project that will eventually cover over 4,000 hectares of the central Cholistan desert and add 1,000 megawatts to the nation’s electric grid, Pakistani media reports.

Pakistan faces a serious electricity shortfall especially during the summers, creating tension and sometimes causing protests. Power shortages also cripple industry.

One of the biggest solar parks in the world, the is a part of $46 billion investment plan known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor will link Pakistan to China's Xinjiang region.

At an inaugural ceremony, Sharif said "since I became prime minister my one goal has been to eliminate darkness in Pakistan, and bring lights back to the country."

"By 2017-2018, there will be an end to load shedding," he said, referring to a system of rolling black-outs used to ration electricity.

Radio Pakistan reported that the Chinese government has borne the expenses for setting up the plant.

Pakistan has signed investment agreements with China to build various gas, coal and solar energy projects that will provide almost equivalent electricity to the country’s entire current capacity.

TRTWorld and agencies