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Rooftop Solar Panels Now Being Massively Adopted By Consumers

Power alternatives massively stormed the country in the last two decades, pertaining to the regular power outbreaks across the country. One of the most efficient, but a less adopted alternative, is the installment of solar panels. Although the initial cost is substantial, uninterrupted power supply and freedom from electricity bills offer enticing prospects.

Finally, we are now seeing widespread adoption of the technology. In last year alone, Pakistanis have imported more than 950 MWs of solar power capacity.  Surprisingly, this import volume is more than four years combined. 

With no permanent solution to the country's power problem in sight, the rapid adoption of solar power technology is primarily triggered by a sudden reduction in installation and operational costs.  In last five years, panel costs are reduced by five times.  Moreover,  the efficiency of modern panels is adequately improved, which effectively reduces the cost per unit.

Alongside economics, it is also the government policies which created a favorable environment for solar power adoption by the consumers.  The time required for net metering is now reduced to one month only, while previously the same process required almost six months. Through net metering, a consumer is connected to the national grid.

It should be of no surprise that along with domestic consumers, it the business sector which has mostly benefitted from relaxed rules and reduced costs.  What once never seemed to satisfy the economics, is now a viable solution to the intermittent power supply. With rooftop solar panels providing a stable supply of power, and economics working their way, businessmen are naturally excited by the technology. Furthermore, it is the daytime when production is at its peak, and when required by business owners the most. 

Another sector that can reap massive benefit from the rooftop solar panels is the educational sector. Far-flung schools, colleges, and universities, with normally huge and barren roofs, could be the next to acquire the technology extensively. The intermittent power supply is a major issue for educational institutions in remote areas. Solar power supply can solve the issue for good. 

The major impediment to the adoption of rooftop solar power technology by educational institutions were holidays.  Summer and winter holidays, festivals and weekends never justified the unit costs compared to the high installation costs.  With government easing the rules for net metering and making the process convenient, the surplus power can now be sold, after connection with the national grid.

Rooftop solar power panels are expected to make a further delve into consumer markets but there are challenges too that have to be mitigated. The biggest threat is from the power distribution companies themselves. Circular debts and current losses of these companies,  they see net metering as a threat to their interests, in case of wide-scale adoption. Power distribution companies are owned by the government and if a threat is sizeable to counter their interests, chances for possible curbs in the way cannot be overruled.

Moreover, there are technical limitations as well.  Fluctuations in production are normal with solar energy during evenings and adverse climatic conditions. To balance these fluctuations out, power distribution companies must have sufficient technical capability. At the moment, power distribution companies do not have such technical capability. Relieving it is that none of these challenges is insurmountable.

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