US-based photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer First Solar is delivering more than 860,000 high-performance thin-film modules to power a 100MW alternating current (AC) solarpower plant in Pakistan.

Developed by Turkish firm Zorlu Enerji, the new project is part of the Quaid-e-Azam solar park.

First Solar business development Europe and Africa head Stefan Degener said: “This project is part of a pivotal move by Pakistan to secure its energy independence by harnessing its solar resource, and we are proud to be playing an enabling role.”

“Once operational, the plant is expected to produce an estimated 180,000MWh of electricity each year.”

The new independent power producer (IPP) facility is expected to be completed and connected to the power grid in the first half of 2018.

Once operational, the plant is expected to produce an estimated 180,000MWh of electricity each year, which would power approximately 140,000 households in Pakistan.

Generated electricity will be supplied to the Central Power Purchasing Agency under a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 25 years.

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Zorlu Enerji CEO Sinan Ak said: “We are confident that First Solar’s advanced PV modules will thrive in Bahawalpur’s desert conditions, delivering more than 8% more energy than conventional crystalline-silicon panels, and enabling our successful bid for a PPA.

“We are also confident that we will set a new benchmark for solar energy in Pakistan, replicating the standards we set with our award-winning Jhimpir wind power plant. There is no doubt in my mind that this project will be a new milestone for the development of utility-scale solar in the country.”