June 11 - 17, 20

Solar power can meet the global demand of electricity. The world's covered desert area of 40 percent can supply all of universe electricity. Even the Gobi Desert could supply all of the world's electricity. Solar power is not constant and generally stored to utilize in lean period. A major problem with the solar energy is high cost of installation of solar power plants. However, the cost is decreasing over the period.

Many developing countries do not have large funds to build big solar plants but somehow they are solving their problems by introducing small solar applications. Solar power works by taking energy from sun. Solar plant is installed in open air.

Solar energy helps to reduce the release of carbon dioxide on earth and provides health benefits. It reduces deforestation and time of the people who spend a larger time in gathering wood, allowing more time to work on productive and income generating activities.

The use of solar energy system increases agriculture production by creating rich soil and smooth water flows. Many countries are therefore utilizing solar energy for a wide range of users including cooking, water heating. Utilizing the solar water heater can reduce about 50 to 60 percent domestic water heating cost. In this context, the gas and electricity saved can be utilized in the industrial sector.

Spain has been at forefront of universal efforts to produce solar energy as high as 432 MW, outpacing the United States by 10 MW. It has opened the largest solar power station, overtaking the United States as the biggest solar generator in the world. Spain is one of the countries of Europe with more day hours of sunshine. It exports 80 percent of the solar energy to Germany. According to the official sources, another 600 MW will be added to the grid and by 2013 it is anticipated the overall solar capacity will increase to 2,500 MW. In Spain, the world's biggest solar power tower, Abengoa began commercial operation of a 20MW near Seville in the late April 2009.

Israel has successfully introduced solar energy. There is no oil in Israel and it does not maintain a cordial relationship with oil producing Arab countries and so in order to maintain its economic stability and security it has given utmost importance to solar energy. With abundant sunshine available in the country, it has made immense use of solar energy for the economic development of its country. The innovative and its advanced research have made stride in solar energy to such an extent that is competitive with fossil fuel technology.

India is situated in the Earth's equatorial sunbelt. It receives abundant solar radiation. It is said that India experiences clear bright weather for 250 to 300 days per annum. India has kept aside 35,000 kilometers region of Thar Desert that could be sufficient in generating 700 to 21,000 gigwats for the proposed large solar energy projects. Solar power in India will cost less than coal energy in the next five to six years. The cost of solar power in India will come down to Rs5 to 6 per kilowatt-hour per unit.

By 2020, it will be mandatory in India to use solar- powered applications and equipments in every government buildings, hospitals and hotels. On November 18, 2009 India declared to launch its national solar mission, part of national plan on climate change, with an aim to produce 1,000 MW of energy by 2013. Though the percentage of solar energy generation is minimal, that is only 0.4 per cent compared to other energy resources. With regards to use of solar powered applications and equipments in every government buildings, hotels and hospitals, India shared the first position with the United States. By 2020, India plans to make solar light available to 20 million households thereby saving 42 million carbon emissions annually.

Pakistan is facing a chronic energy problem. It is unfortunate that there is less production of electricity from hydropower source during hot and dry months and this will become economically dangerous with the growing energy demand. About 70 per cent of the population lives in villages scattered all around the country. Their habitation is far from the grid station transmission lines of the national grid. It is not economically feasible to connect these villages to national grid.

In spite of all the hurdles, the prospects of solar energy are very bright as Pakistan receives high level of solar radiation throughout the year. Solar energy systems are being developed but more have to be developed and introduced to spur economic growth and improve the standard of living of people. Solar system can meet the necessary requirements of rural areas and reduce the pressure on traditional energy sources in urban areas.

The solar technology is likely to be successful from commercial point of view. Solar energy research centre (SERC) has been able to set up an up to date facility for the large production of solar geysers and cookers and provide all necessary technical, support, service, and implementation and management services. Already many have shown their interest in obtaining the SERC's systems for cooking and water heating.

The energy crises demands that Pakistan should minimize its dependence on costly fossil fuels and make well use of its natural resources like the sunlight. The early adoption and utilization of modern solar and geothermal technologies including heat pumps, solar water heater, and solar water pumps would lessen dependence on fossil fuel that is largely imported from abroad. The world has swiftly diversified its energy mix resources and there is no reason why Pakistan blessed with lot of sunlight should drag its feet on commercialization of solar energy technologies.