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DLR to create solar atlas of Pakistan

Germany, October 21, 2014: The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has been commissioned by the World Bank to investigate Pakistan’s potential for the exploitation of solar energy. DLR researchers will use satellite data and ground measurements to generate a radiation map showing the best regions for solar power generation in Pakistan.

On October 18th 2014, the first solar measurement station under this project was installed at QA Solar Park near Bahawalpur, Punjab Province. At this site, a 100MW PV Solar Power Plan is under construction as part of a plan to install over 1GW of solar PV capacity.

The project is part of World Bank’s global initiative on Renewable Energy Resource Mapping, and funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP).

The Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment Department of the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics will work with the German Remote Sensing Data Center and the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics to analyse the solar potential of Pakistan.

To carry out the assessment, an international project consortium consisting of DLR, CSP Services, ECOFYS and local partner PITCO will start by assessing satellite image data from the past 15 years. At nine locations spread over the whole of Pakistan, ground stations will be set up to measure local solar radiation for two years. The measured data from this and the other sites will be compared with the satellite models to create a reliable Solar Atlas of Pakistan.

The project was approved by ESMAP in 2013, and a US$1,960,000 fund was allocated. The scientists of DLR are expected to deliver the solar radiation map to the government authorities in Pakistan in 2017. Till then, intermediate outputs will be shared. This will be a crucial decision-making tool for identifying productive and favourable locations for solar power plants.

Another important part of the project is the development of local expertise. In the context of ‘capacity building’ measures, the partners will be trained locally to capture and interpret data to assess the solar potential. By participating in the programme, Pakistan is aiming to develop renewable energy sources and ensure greater security of supply in its growing electricity market.

At present, twelve countries including Zambia, Tanzania and the Maldives, have applied to participate in ESMAP’s Renewable Energy Resource Mapping Initiative. In addition to solar radiation, the potential for wind, biomass and hydropower will be analysed under the initiative.

Source: DLR