FAISALABAD: Punjab Minister for Energy Dr Muhammad Akhtar Malik has said that only renewable energy is a viable solution to meet the demands of cheap electricity. He was talking to the media during the inaugural ceremony of a solar project at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) on Saturday. He also laid the foundation stone for establishment of a solar plant of 2-MW at UAF in addition to inaugurating the retrofitting at UAF Solar Park. The minister said that retrofitting was completed at UAF with an estimated cost of Rs 71.99 million under which 7,466 energy efficient fans and 20,723 LED lights were installed and the project will save Rs 35 million annually. He said that a 2-MW solar plant will provide cheap electricity to the university at a half rate as compared to the electricity price currently charged by FESCO. The minister said that under visionary leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and under supervision of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, 43 public sector universities in Punjab are being solarized to save more than Rs 1 billion annually. He said that all District Headquarter (DHQ) hospitals of the province as well as Tehsil Headquarters (THQ) hospitals, basic health units (BHUs), primary, elementary, high and high secondary schools will also be shifted on solar energy gradually. He said that the 100-MW solar park is being set up in Layyah district in collaboration with Chinese and Pakistani companies which will provide cheap and environment-friendly electricity at half rate as compared to the power price of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park established by the previous government. He said that the governments not only wasted billions of rupees by making illegal payments to the power companies in terms of capacity charges but also made anti-people agreements by the year 2030 to pay trillions of rupees from the pockets of the poor nation. However, the PTI government managed to save billions of rupees as a result of successful negotiations with power companies; he said and revealed that the Energy Department had saved Rs 2.4 billion during the last three years by implementing best policies. He said that local resources were being utilised instead of importing furnace oil worth $17 billion due to prudent decisions of the PTI government. The minister added that the Punjab Thermal Power Plant of 1263-MW is being set up at Head Trimmu which will soon add cheap electricity to the national grid. The present government has invested Rs 115 billion in the power sector through which not only cheap electricity of thousands megawatts will be generated but the power companies will also be paid in Pakistani rupees instead of dollars. UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Anas Sarwar Qureshi said that UAF is right on track with the motto of “Clean and Green Campus”. He said that UAF is focusing on energy savings and shifting on renewables to cut down its dependency on main grid. Provincial Minister for Culture and Colonies Mian Khayal Kastro, Provincial Minister for Punjab Chief Minister Inspection Team Muhammad Ajmal Cheema, Members of Assembly Mian Waris Aziz, Shakeel Shahid, former Provincial Minister Ashraf Sohna and others were also present.