Coal firm plans Pakistan’s largest industrial solar project

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Credit: SECMC Facebook

A Pakistani coal and power firm has contracted Karachi-based solar EPC firm Reon Energy to build a 5MW PV project to help power its mining operations, in what will be a first for Pakistan.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) wants the project to be installed at its Thar Coal Block II in Sindh Province and it will become the largest private C&I solar plant for captive consumption in the country to date, it claims.

SECMC is working on Pakistan’s first open-pit coal mine in the Thar Block II Islamkot. A powerplant is being constructed by the Engro Powergen Thar Limited (EPTL) at the mouth of the mine and this is expected to start generating electricity at the end of the current year.

In a release, SECMC said it was eyeing up both energy cost savings and a reduction in carbon emissions from the solar plant. The firm has the option to extend the contract during or after project completion, wherein Reon will provide O&M services for a 15-year period and then hand over the operations to SECMC.

Syed Abul Fazl Rizvi, COO of SECMC, said: “The 5MW solar energy system will contribute benefits equivalent to planting of about 220,000 trees and will be the largest private solar PPA in the country. This is also the first-ever initiative by a mining company in Pakistan to install solar power plant for it mining operations.”

Reon Energy CEO Mujtaba Haider Khan said: “Pakistan enjoys a geo-strategic advantage for producing abundant amounts of solar energy. Advancement in solar technology has not only improved solar’s efficiency but has also led to a massive reduction in costs. This is a landmark project that’ll significantly reduce the operating cost and carbon footprint.”

He also noted that the project would create dozens of jobs.

Reon is part of the investment holding company Dawood Hercules Corporation.

The Pakistani regulator, NEPRA, recently issued its tariff determinations for 300MW of solar with tariffs significantly below grid parity.

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