ADB’s project powering thousands of schools in Punjab through solar panels

ISLAMABAD, May 16 (APP):With support from the Asian Development Bank’s “Access to Clean Energy Investment Program”, solar power systems have been installed in thousands of schools in Punjab to provide reliable electricity.

These schools are off-grid or used to experience frequent power outages. Now that they have reliable electricity, classrooms have proper lighting, ventilation, and access to drinking water, vastly improving the learning environment for students especially amid the sweltering summer heat in the southern part of the province.

Installed with ADB’s support, they provide reliable electricity to schools that used to experience blackouts, creating a much better learning environment especially amid the sweltering heat of summers in southern Punjab.

According to a video message released by the ADB on Monday, over 10,700 public schools now enjoy uninterrupted electricity at a much lower cost, benefiting 1.27 million students and saving up to Rs 509 million each year.

Furthermore, solar panels are also being installed in 4,200 more schools while over 2,000 basic health units are also being fitted with solar panels to ensure the continuous delivery of healthcare services.

Mehak, a student at government elementary school in Nandla, Multan, said “When I joined this school, there was no electricity. We had a hard time getting drinking water and we had to attend class in extremely hot weather. After the installation of the solar panels, we no longer have difficulty getting drinking water and we can turn on fans.”

“Student enrollment has increased. (Before the solar panels) many parents would not send their children to school because of the hot weather in the summer. (Having power) made a huge difference. Students now happily go to school”, Komal Shahzadi, a teacher at government elementary school in Nandla, Multan said

Solar panels can also be found at the University of Bahawalpur, which offers courses requiring state-of-the-art technology.

Vice Chancellor at the University of Bahawalpur, Athar Mahboob said “All our activities in Islamia University of Bahawalpur, the academic activities, the research and their extracurricular activities, they require us to use electricity for lighting and cooling purposes. The economic benefits that we are getting, the PKR 70 million that we are saving allows us to use that money for other more pressing needs.”

Some schools are even earning by selling excess power to the national grid.

Project director for the Access to Clean Energy Investment Program, Arif Qesrani said “(South Punjab) is covered by mountains, hill torrents, and riverine belts. So 100% power coverage could not be achieved. With the help of this project, we are motivating people to meet the power requirements. They can make their own arrangements. We arranged proper training sessions related to its maintenance.”

In the video message, Country Director for Pakistan, Asian Development Bank Yong Ye said “ADB is working to provide wider energy access throughout Asia and the Pacific. The best way to do it is through the development of renewable energy sources. We are happy to support the government of Pakistan to achieve its goal of providing clean, reliable, and sustainable electricity for all.”