Interview with the Director of meeco Services Pakistan, Syed Saad Zafar
The meeco Group holds an important position in the Pakistani market of renewable and solar energies and contributes to the development of the country towards a sustainable future. Lately, meeco has successfully achieved the completion of several projects in Pakistan, such as the 350 kWp sun2roof installation for Shalamar Hospital and the 300 kWp sun2roof project at the Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS). These past few years, the Pakistani people have become increasingly aware of the need for clean energy solutions to power the country. This explains why meeco first decided to enter the country’s solar market ten years ago. In order to do so, the group entrusted the guidance of the company to Syed Saad Zafar, who joined the meeco team in June 2008 through the subsidiary, meeco Services Pakistan Pvt Ltd. By creating the joint venture oursun Solar Power Ltd. in October 2013, Syed Saad Zafar reinforced his position in the meeco team. Since then, he is holding the position of CEO and Director of these two companies.
How fast did the solar market in Pakistan develop during the past few years?
When we started to introduce meeco energy solutions in Pakistan nine years ago, it was still out of question for any leading group to invest in it. Such an investment was very risky, as the installation of solar plants required a lot of money in order to operate and maintain them. Moreover, unprofessional solution providers cheated people and their trust was shattered. Today, after many efforts during many years, I feel that people are well aware of what solar technology can provide them. Photovoltaic energy is an unlimited, affordable, clean and sustainable way for people to power themselves. Now, even the costs went significantly down and the technology becomes more and more known. Today, almost everybody has an understanding of how PV works.
Does solar energy contributes to the improvement and the development of the country?
Yes! It is the solution of this century and it will offer a better energy supply for countries like Pakistan. Pakistan yet benefits from the energy generated by hydro projects for example, but there are still good possibilities for the implementation of other clean energy technologies, such as photovoltaic. Time will prove it.
Could you introduce meeco Services Pakistan? What are your main responsibilities and daily missions as CEO of the subsidiary?
meeco Services Pakistan offers high-end engineering, management and investment solutions in clean energy. As CEO, I am responsible for developing the Sales and Project management with regards to renewable energy and resource management as well as preservation. Along with business development and contract negotiation, it is up to me to ensure, that shareholders interests and customer satisfaction are well balanced during and after the installation.
How do you stay in contact with the other members of the company? As you are working in an international team, do you usually face issues regarding intercultural differences or language barriers?
I have a very good relationship with the meeco core team and call or contact them via email whenever their support is required. If I need an expert opinion, each of the related person within the meeco team, in Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland or anywhere else in the world will support me.
|Discover The meeco Group joint venture in Pakistan…|
What are your main responsibilities and daily missions as the CEO of the joint venture oursun Solar Power Limited?
oursun Solar Power Ltd. is a joint venture of The meeco Group and two renowned Pakistani business individuals, whose missions consist in the installation of solar systems for industrial and large commercial consumers in Pakistan. Currently, the company has approximately 12 MWp of solar power plants under construction and other 60 MWp are contractually fixed. The major business of oursun Solar Power Ltd. is to generate electricity and to supply leading industrial groups with this clean energy by using PV technology, mainly in the framework of long-term power purchase agreements (PPA). oursun Solar Power Ltd. has yet concluded such agreements with companies like Packages Limited, Nishat Group, Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS), Seasons Group and Dewan Group. As CEO, I am responsible for the respective project executions.
What was the first project you worked on?
My first project was the sale of a 43 kWp installation to the Lahore University of Management and Science, which was to a great extent made possible by Syed Babar Ali, advisor of Packages Limited. Today, meeco Services Pakistan and oursun Solar Power Ltd. are the only companies in the private sector of Pakistan to hold contracts of more than 60 MWp, out of which several MWp are already installed and operational. We negotiate for further 50 MWp. The first project required hard efforts and continuous struggle. Thanks to these, we were able to enter the Pakistani market. Moreover, this project has led us to the success we are experiencing now.
Do the weather conditions in Pakistan promote the installation of solar plants?
Weather conditions in Pakistan are very favourable for the implementation of solar plants. The whole area from the centre of the country to southern boarders is one of the best areas with top conditions for solar plants as it benefits from eight to ten months of full sunshine. Moreover, it captures a level of radiation per square meter, which is similar to the radiation of the sunniest areas worldwide.
Do you think the Pakistani market for solar energy offers opportunities for potential investors?
I strongly believe that the Pakistani market offers huge potential for investors interested in clean energies. Due to shortfalls and regular outages of energy supply from the grid as well as the increase of energy prices, the government is not able to manage the demand and supply balance. Thus, investors are more and more interested in putting money into solar projects because they consider clean energy as a safe and stable investment. Recently, the Pakistani government as well has reduced duty and tax to support solar technology in order to enable the middle class to install clean energy solutions.
Which product of the numerous meeco green energy solutions is the most successful in the Pakistani market?
In the Pakistani market large-scale rooftop installations, such as sun2roof, are the most successful solutions. With this flexible solution the project scale can be exactly attuned to the special needs of each house and client.
Which projects will be realized in the near future?
Currently, we are starting the execution of a thoroughly developed 2 MWp sun2roof rooftop project on the new Emporium Mall in Lahore. At the moment, this huge and state-of-the-art shopping centre is still under construction. The project is based on a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the Nishat Group, constructor of the building, and oursun Solar Power Ltd. The generated clean energy shall almost entirely cover the energy consumption of the whole shopping mall. This new photovoltaic installation is expected to produce a minimum of 3.850 MWh per year, which shall thus save 331 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The Emporium Mall sun2roof project
Moreover, our PPA with Shalamar Hospital in Lahore will experience an extension. The hospital was built up for a worthy cause by an eminent group of businessmen believing in strong values such as social uplift, charity and humanism. They created a hospital, which can enhance the welfare of impecunious patients by offering free of charge treatments. In 2014 the institute commissioned meeco to establish up to 350 kWp sun2roof solar installations on the roof of the hospital. The generated clean power helped to reduce the costs for the required electricity. Now, the PPA was extended and we plan to install further 230 kWp at the car park and further 220 kWp on the roof of the hospital.
Shalamar Hospital sun2roof solar panels
|– Read more about the “Installation of rooftop at Shalamar Hospital”|
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