STAFF REPORT IBD: German renewable energy company CAE plans to invest more than €100 million (Rs12.9 billion) in setting up the first solar panel manufacturing facility in Pakistan, and the second of its kind in Asia.

“CAE plans to introduce a type of solar panel that has not been used in Pakistan before and is not manufactured anywhere else in Asia except one place in China,” said Shahzada Khurram, Director of the Company, told the media

The company will build a factory in Faisalabad on land that has been given to it by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. In exchange, the university gets a 10% share in the companys Pakistani subsidiary. Manufacturing is expected to start by the end of the year, he said.

Solar energy prices are rapidly becoming more competitive with thermal energy sources. Several global experts believe that 2013 will be the year that solar energy becomes economically viable even without any government subsidies.

“We are aiming to make sure that any person who installs the house solar system will have monthly instalments equal to their current monthly electricity bill,” said Khurram. Given the fact that grid electricity in Pakistan is cheap, but unreliable, it is likely that many will find that proposition highly tempting.

CAE has already sold such a system to three textile manufacturers in Faisalabad: in Sandal Bar Fabrics, Tayyab Group of Industries, and Faisal Fabrics.

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