Plans for a 700MW solar project in the Cholistan Desert have been approved by the Punjab government in Pakistan, according to reports.
The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park will be spread over 10,000 acres and built in sections, with eight 50MW segments each covering 250 acres.
The plans were given the seal of approval at the fourth meeting of the Punjab Energy Council, which was set up last month to oversee the development of energy projects in the region. It is hoped renewable energy could solve the provinces crippling energy shortages.
The council also gave the go ahead to set up a state-owned energy company – the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Co. – to develop the project.
Speaking at the meeting Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reportedly said work would start straight away so energy production could begin at the start of next year.
Punjab has a shortfall of 3,500MW of electricity at the moment, according to a recent estimate from the Punjab Government’s Energy Department, a gap while demand is rising 8% a year. Half of the region’s demand currently comes from homes.