Islamabad: China has built the world’s largest single solar photovoltaic power plant in Bahawalpur, which is in the Punjab province of Pakistan, according to the state media in Beijing. The local media is also showing it as an early sign of its Silk Road programme, Chinese media reported on Thursday.
Called the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, it is a 229-hectare facility in the Cholistan desert named after Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Out of proposed 1000MW, 100-megawatt plant has been established at a cost of $215 million (Dh790 million) in a short period of three months, China Daily said.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, where it has been built, is a showcase example for Beijing to demonstrate the efficacy of the Silk Road programme, which Chinese officials describe as “One Belt, One Road” programme. Chinese president Xi Jinping allocated a colossal $46 billion on the Pakistan corridor because it is a model project for Beijing.
For Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the plant represents political support from China because he was elected on the promise of solving the country’s electricity problem. Sharif inaugurated the project on May 5.
The plant, built by Chinese company TBEA Xinjiang SunOasis Co, has already generated 39 million kilowatt-hours of energy for the local province, the local media quoted a company official, Hou Peng, as saying.
The local media also quoted an official at the solar unit saying he was aware that Pakistan “faced internal and external issues such as security and overcrowding” before he went there.
“My friends and family have asked me to take care, in terms of personal safety and the hot weather, but they know it’s a good experience for me, for my career,” he said. “My parents support my decision to be here.”