Leading Pakistani university, LUMS uses sun2live rooftop installation to power its campus
Given the severity of the energy shortage in Pakistan, crippling the development of the country, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) decided to forgo its fuel cost for its gas/diesel gensets and move to long-term sustainability by making use of solar power. In early 2013, LUMS started considering a long-term, sustainable strategy to tackle the electricity crisis and therefore called upon The meeco Group to work together for the development of electricity generation capacity and the implementation of renewable energy solutions. Within that year a first 51 kwp sun2roof installation was executed as proof of concept.
Only one year after the signing of the initial contract, The meeco Group, through its joint venture, OurSun Solar Power Ltd. and LUMS expand their collaboration by concluding another Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) amounting to additional 322 kWp. This larger-scale sun2roof solar installation produces a minimum of 502.200 kWh per year and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 43.18 tons annually. Additionally, a joint monitoring system has been added to the solar solution at the university in order to analyse and enhance performance of PV installations.
|Read more about the LUMS project…
Through this interview with Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor, LUMS, we will be looking back at this collaboration to discuss the motivations and benefits of this solar investment.
Prior to his current position at LUMS, Dr. Naqvi was the Executive Director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan for eight years, where he helped develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for the revival of the higher education sector of Pakistan. With a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering, extensive teaching and research experience in the US and Pakistan, Dr. Naqvi, over the past decade, has been actively involved in spearheading higher education reforms in Pakistan. He also has a number of patents to his credit and has worked with start-ups bringing high-tech inventions to the marketplace.
|Discover The meeco Group joint venture in Pakistan…
Dr. Naqvi, renewable energy will play an important role in the energy mix of the future. Why have you decided to adopt a solar power supply?
As a sustainable and renewable resource, solar power generates no carbon emissions or greenhouse gases and hence improves public health and environment quality. Investing in such a vast and inexhaustible energy supply is an important effort that companies should make in order to conserve nature and envision a cleaner and better tomorrow for future generations. Financially, solar energy provides an excellent return on investment with further enthusiastic opportunities.
To gain a better insight, what goals would the LUMS sun2roof solar installation accomplish?
This transition towards sustainable energy systems not only caters to our increasing energy demand, but also minimises the university’s carbon footprint. Moreover, this solar installation actually supports our SarSubz LUMS (‘SarSubz’ is Urdu for ‘Always Green’) initiative, which is an expression of the university’s long-standing and continuing commitment to environmental consciousness and sustainable development in our own lives, at our own campus and beyond.
How was the situation in the region before installing the turnkey solution of The meeco Group? Have you been able to resolve energy problems through the solar installation?
The country is currently experiencing an acute energy crisis, involving ever increasing diesel fuel costs and recurring power outages. For this reason, switching to other forms of energy, such as solar power, was the correct response for reducing our dependency on diesel power generation and thus lowering the overall energy mix cost of the campus by leading to major energy savings and overall reduction in CO2 emissions.
Besides fixing those issues, what other benefits has the installation provided?
Research is the other major benefit. LUMS, as an educational institute, not only promotes research activities but also facilitates its students/researchers with actual setups that can exhibit real time scenarios rather than conceptual theories.
Furthermore, installing PV modules on the rooftops helps in reflecting the heat of the summer, which naturally maintains desirable temperatures inside the buildings, thereby reducing the air-conditioning load.
Why did LUMS choose The meeco Group for its solar energy projects?
By conducting multiple large-scale solar projects in Pakistan during the past seven years, The meeco Group has proved to be a prominent sustainability pioneer in our country. They have demonstrated a far superior professional and technical expertise than other vendors. Since universities are hubs for research and experimentation, they provide an ideal testing ground for new approaches. Developing a joint monitoring system for the solar installation represents a great opportunity for our students to observe the project and analyse regional data.
Could you tell us more about this joint monitoring project? Will this additional installation enhance the performance of the PV solution?
Yes, this joint monitoring project is actually a way to accurately analyse the performance of large-scale utility PV power plants in Pakistan. The aim of this project is to enhance the annual energy yield by taking into account the key factors, which contribute to the overall efficiency of such substantial PV power systems. Moreover, this is also a great chance to help our students to conduct extensive research in PV technologies through the wide range of PV plant performance data resources available at evaluation.
Does the solar solution affect the work of the students and employees?
Yes, in a really positive way. Before the solar project implementation, it was very difficult to keep their schedules on track considering the recurrent power interruptions. Now, thanks to meeco’s sun2live energy storage solution, our staff members and students are not affected by power outages anymore.
How are your students reacting to this cooperation, especially concerning the concept of sustainable development?
LUMS, as a pioneer educational institution in developing sustainable strategies, realises the importance of renewable technologies for catering to future energy needs. This milestone helps in creating awareness among the students and inculcates in them the importance of renewables for creating a sustainable environment.
How is the Pakistani community reacting to solar systems like yours? Are people well aware of their benefits and are they investing in such projects?
Due to the ongoing energy crises in Pakistan, people need to rely on sustainable technologies to get rid of the prevailing electricity problems. Solar energy is a good substitute to diesel and gas generators due to massive development in that field and significant decrease in solar PV modules prices, making it become an even more lucrative investment for domestic consumers.
Would you recommend the sun2live turnkey solution of The meeco Group to other people or companies?
I strongly recommend this solution and actually we would like to take the opportunity to appreciate the reliability and performance of each and every meeco team member. They have always delivered expected results with technical efficiency in the timeliest manner, along with having no compromise on quality and international standards.
What qualities of the The meeco Group did you appreciate in particular during the installation process?
Commitment was the greatest quality displayed by meeco’s staff during the installation phase. The operational team managed its tasks effectively, with professional efficiency, to meet priorities and deadlines.
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