Solar Powered Street Lights

These two pictures by Capsat on Flickr are making rounds on the various Pakistani mailing lists. We received this tip from Jamal Shamsi first. The second picture showing the truck installing the solar powered street light seems to be inside some CDGK compound.

CDGK has gone a great job in replacing regular white street lights with sodium (yellow) lights in many localities. It gives a good lightening effect. However, a very high number of non-system connected street lights remain on 24/7 (see a previous entry on KMB on this topic) and this causes great power loss in a time when power is most needed. Street light power consumption is estimated at 24 megawatts in Karachi.

Theft security (apart from the price) of the solar panels atop these experimental arrangements might become an obstacle in mass deployment. Also, how long thru the night can these batteries last?

50 Comments so far

  1. D0CTOR (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

    I seriously beleive that this is another dirty trick by MQM , first they will spend millions on installing these lights and then same people will steal them and sell them in the black markets to generate funds for Altaf’s bank account in London…

  2. Hena (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 10:08 pm

    LOL. You have GOT to be kidding?! That’s what they do? Ok I’ve read the stories of people stealing the covers of manholes, but wow — you do have a point, solar panels are very expensive…I wouldn’t be surprised if people started stealing them. How come we can’t show some love to our city, and just let it progress. You’ll find the same people behaving like the utmost best citizens in Dubai, UK, etc. Why not in your own country? How about buying cheaper solar panels (that still do the job)?

  3. Sufi (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

    Most probably the lights will be installed by a third party and they will use the poles to generate revenue (advertising). So the CDGK wouldn’t be paying a penny.

  4. Barrister Ali K.Chishti (unregistered) on February 27th, 2008 @ 11:34 pm

    way to go MQM,City Govt.

    *ignoring this doctorchap*

  5. Balma (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:33 am

    Great idea.
    Any comments on the solar power industry in Karachi? Pakistan?

    D*’s comments are totally idiotic, but so true when you think how Pakistan has been screwed for decades. Paksitanis are pathalogical thiefs and liars. It is not far fethced to believe Doctor’s comments. This happens all the time in Pakistan. Has happened when Ayub Khan was in power, when Yahya Khan was in power, Bhuttos (3 times), NoSharif (2 times)…and so on. It is good to have cynics like Doctor around. Will keep MQM and future governments in line. therefore, Doctors stupid comments are fine with me.
    I won’t trust anyone in Pakistan, would you?

  6. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:37 am

    Earlier I used to feel a pinch of anger after reading DOCTOR’s comments but now I just feel pity. Hope someday someone will be able to provide to this agitated and miserable soul much needed help & solace. On second thought lack of quality sex could be the cause of the problem.

  7. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:40 am

    OK BALMA if you say so I will designate DOCTOR as the official CYNIC.

  8. MK (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:54 am

    Doctor’s thought might seem cynical and conspirational but then again MQM’s past speaks for itself when it comes to plundering and looting and killing. There is a very high chance that MQM thugs will attempt to do as doctor has envisaged.
    But if the city govt. is so committed to solar energy it might actually be a better idea to install a solar power generation plant somewhere and use it to power the grid.
    In this way there will be no extra cost to plug these lights in as they are already plugged in to the grid.
    The excess energy made by the plant in the day will be used evenly in the grid.
    The issue of theft of these stand alone systems will be done and dusted with (sadly for MQM thugs).
    The setup will be more reliable and easily manageable and maintained. Instead of workers going from pole to pole replacing batteries and all.

  9. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 1:14 am

    MK if you want to look at looters, plunderers and down right thief’s just look at the leaders of the newly formed coalition, they are the best in this art, with no parallel in Pakistan’s history. Still, I wish them well hope they have finally learned from the past and will find a more reasonable and civilized way to fill their kitty. Hope they will not go for the goose again

    The tireless efforts by MQM Workers and young enterprising leaders have clearly demonstrated how well they are in public service, in fact compared to other parties they are miles ahead. The frustrated good for nothing JI and PTI activists may call them names, they are like an irritatingly squeaking wheel of a cart, but the problem is, unlike the idiom, they are not getting the grease.

    So good JOB Muttahida keep up the good work.

  10. Balma (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 1:32 am

    *But if the city govt. is so committed to solar energy it might actually be a better idea to install a solar power generation plant somewhere and use it to power the grid.

    solar power plants, big enough to provide to the grid, require a big area. And, they are costly. And, then Paksitan basically being a stupid country, I don’t know what are the rules about putting up such planst. How do KESC and esp WAPDA play into the picture here.

    the current solution adopted by the city government is a quick and dirty solution. It solves the immediate problem. In future, they should find the optimal solar energy solution.

  11. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 1:55 am

    There is no efficient or cost effective way yet to generate solar power from a central location. However if you own a house and can afford the initial cost you can harness this abundant resource.

    The Alternative Energy Development Board, setup by Government of Pakistan is the focal point of developments in this area, they are pushing the agenda with the resources at their disposal and have quite a few projects under their belt. Contact them if you want to Solarize your house, here is the link;

  12. ali-en (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:39 am

    Shoot any bast*rds who try to steal the panels on sight. That’s the only way. We can’t let our civic problems exacerbate just because of some miscreants.

  13. go figure (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:53 am

    even though I ended up in Islamabad for my graduation studies, my heart always went for Karachi. I love and miss my Karachi so much. Never been there but still have lots of Karachi friends who give me great feedback on the city. Such a lovable and huge city.

  14. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 3:16 am


    Details can be found at the CDGK website:

  15. alam (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 5:19 am

    i love altaf bhai, he is so visionary :)

    I think getting rid of that jahil wife, is proving beneficial on his psyche

  16. a+ (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 8:34 am

    "Doctor" is "Awab Alvi" aka "Teeth Maestro"

  17. guesswho (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 10:01 am

    can u guess who am i??

    BTW we already knew Awab Alvi is a Doctor :p

  18. alam (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 10:07 am


    >>> BTW we already knew Awab Alvi is a Doctor

    Dentists r not doctors. This is the biggest joke on medical science.

    Its like diploma holders r called engineers.

  19. guesswho (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 10:21 am

    >>> Dentists r not doctors. This is the biggest joke on medical science.

    u mean dentistry is not taught in "medical" college???

    so they should write Dt. Awab Alvi instead of Dr. Awab Alvi

  20. MB (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 10:50 am

    @TEE EMM
    Not fair, lolz
    somebody stole my idea again . . . heheh

    I was in contact with the firm behind this idea and was expecting an email reply from them recently. Before they could reply you posted this one but i must say a great job done.

  21. Zovc (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 11:13 am

    LOL@ CDGKs working Altaf Bhais vision. People can be so ignorant!

  22. IUnknown (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 11:37 am

    where are these lights being installed? defence , clifton? or any other place than that?

  23. HITMAN (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 11:53 am

    Guys, give the original doctor a break, I guess the comment above from nick Doctor is a fake.
    @Topic, It is gr8 to have these lights there but I believe in a society like us, Solar Panels on each pole will definitely attract potential thieves & looters. Would be much better with centralized solar panel(s).

  24. br0ke (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

    wait a minute…. am i missing a point here or these solar(sun) powered lights have no use in the night when it is dark(no sun)….
    what will they think of next a fountain that shoots water into the sky???

  25. guesswho (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 12:48 pm


    if you look closely in the picture, lights are on and surrounding is pretty dark, no sunlight thats for sure. And also there seems to be some battery like device between panel and the light. So that battery will be responsible for the lights to keep on at night.

  26. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 1:16 pm

    soloar power generators for homes and getrid of KESC for good but that would be costly idea.

  27. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

    automatic solar powered street lights are good idea considering that most of street lights are ‘direct’ without any on off switch, and was wasting electricity even during day time and nobody bothers to shut them off.. gov have relaxed duties on alternate energy equipments as well and maybe our talented local engineers and investors/industrialist could setup a some industry manufacturing cheap solar panels.. which could be used by both domestic and commercial users

    maybe we could learn a thing or two from countries like denmark and holland who have been successfully tapping sun,wind,water to produce energy.. we don’t really need to reinvent the wheel…

    as for MQM they’re today sitting down with PPP bargaining,wrangling and blacking mailing ppp to accommodate them into power sharing formula(otherwise if talks failed then hardened criminals like rehan kana jr,farooq dada jr etc would be unleashed on karachiites)

    as for the comments posted using my nick, HITMAN rightly pointed out,i flew out of pk on 16th and wasn’t active on kmb , meanwhile Ali K was busy slandering me by posting his nonsensical comments impersonating my nick…

  28. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

    on motorway these solar powered lights have been already working fine without any glitch

  29. ChamanDar Chaman (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 2:38 pm

    Pakistan mai Educated Qasai ko Doctor kaha jata hai, aur qasai ko kureshi saheb

  30. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

    and if the talks fail then we’ll see many slipping out of pk,i met several bigwigs from previous ruling coalition at European airports,who flew out of pk a day after election results became clear, they’ll be staying in Europe and from there they’ll wait for things to settle down and might negotiate with the new govt just like Munala Fazl Deisel who is open for bidding from highest bidder .. Balochistan got a new governor,Punjab will also get a new governor(Nawab Salahudin), as for sindh,no matter how much Mush loves Ishrat ibad(who is facing 20+ cases of murder and other heinous crimes) he’ll be replaced as well,and maybe he’ll also fly out if the talks fail..

  31. JAY (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 4:03 pm


  32. Jameel (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

    Wah Rey Doctor , another of your dirty trick , first u leave hatered filled comments against a political party and when u see that people started to ridiclue u , you always claim that its not you but somebody has stolen your nick …

    how many imposters do you have ?

    Pathetic low life .

  33. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 11:16 pm

    DOCTOR contrary to your assertions its also a first in Pakistan that those who have lost including Sheikh Rasheed, Mushahid Hussain, Pervaiz Ellahi and others have come on TV , faced the questions and in fact fared well than the victors, they are not going any where. Shaukat Aziz was a PM hopeful, he left because he didn’t get the ticket and assurance from Q-league. Also, the dynamic Ishrat-ul-Ibaad will remain Governor of Sindh so that you continue to get your share of nightmares.

  34. d0ct0r (unregistered) on February 28th, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

    i wasn’t watching tv and following post election events although i had geo subscription there,so can’t comment on tough questions Sheikh Rasheed, Mushahid Hussain, Pervaiz Ellahi and others faced..

    as for ishrat ibad i already said his days are numbered EVEN IF mqm manages to get into coalition with ppp in sindh .. ppp in center ppp in sindh, Ishrat is the odd man out… may i further add that local govs might also face some music in coming days..

  35. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 12:24 am

    We’ll see, as for the current political scenario, have already commented in quite detail here;

  36. Reality_check (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 2:23 am

    Six foreign investors to establish Wind Power Plants in Sindh

  37. striker (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 7:39 am

    i thinks KMB writes have lost the touch of
    that enthusiasm which was there in early days, two or so years back. i mean come on guys i am visiting this blog for the 5th time in two days but no updates. anyways i thinks most of the guys are busy, no hard feelings brothers and sisters

  38. alam (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 11:49 am

    >>>i am visiting this blog for the 5th time in two days but no updates

    Bhai, these writers wait for something anti-MQM to come along, and then they jump and feast on it and like there is no tomorrow. Partcularly this dandaan saaz, the so-called "Dr"

  39. ChamanDar Chaman (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    yeah sb picture drama hai, adobe sai ider udher kai image edit karain hain capsat nai, i went to gulberg town and there is no such operational light, yeah hara-mee hain sab cheap publicity kai shouqeen zal-eyl log karachi walay

  40. FAS (unregistered) on February 29th, 2008 @ 7:55 pm

    DOGTOR tumharee kisi MQM wale ne sukhee sukhee le lee hai shayad. Jao our khud ja kur apni Seyoo.

    DOGTOR you have won the award of most hated person in this blog.

    The way you are showing your hate towars Karachi and its mandate, it appears that you are not from Karachi

  41. Behave (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 2:02 am

    Please Behave,

    Please refrain from indecent words and statements.
    You can have differences but why degrade yourself using a foul language??

  42. MK (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 2:04 am

    @reality check and BALMA: If energy conversion by solar cells is inefficient then this stands true everywhere. Be it on a smaller scale or a larger scale. Similalry i dont think this will increase the cost because you would require same number of solar cells in both cases (stand alone or plant).
    Another better option can be solar thermal plant as like the one working in nevada.
    Also i think there is a misunderstanding as to the area requirement. Average light that falls on the roof of an average sun is sufficient for all the expanded needs of energy of that house (with present day solar cells which convert only 2% of the energy into meaningful energy).
    Similalry with presnet day solar cells an area covering 10,000 mile in US can meet all the energy requirements of US. US consumes 3.816 trillion kwh of energy. by that standards we need less than 50 square miles of a farm for making 15 thousand megawatts. so i think it is better and feasible for a city like karachi to have a solar farm or maybe better still a solar thermal farm.

  43. ABC (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 2:07 am

    @FAS: u seem to know that all very well no? anyways i think doctor will not tell u if he lives in karachi because then u or ur friends from MQM will kill him and pack his body in a bag and throw it near a road. Don’t MQM walas do that all too often. After all thats what Altaf Bhai asks u to do. Kill anyone who shows difference of opinion.

  44. enspec (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 11:12 am

    i think this is a good idea. we can start by implementing these in comparatively safer areas and then well expanding slowly.

    a solar power plant can do wonders. but according to a news report, its currently three times as expensive. do watch this.

    nonetheless, solar energy is the future. especially if one looks at pakistan’s current energy crisis.

    random idea: what if the government, implements a regulation that, every billboard needs to have its own power through solar panels.. or it should have solar panels which shall contribute to the power lines. won’t this solve a lot of problems..?
    do watch this too:

  45. Karachi wala (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 11:54 am

    @ChamanDar Chaman
    "yeah hara-mee hain sab cheap publicity kai shouqeen zal-eyl log karachi walay"
    What is this?
    ye(ChamanDar Chaman) koi beti frosh pathan ya Panjaabi hai is kay nick say hi kisi koothay ki boo arahi hai.
    asal ma karachi walay panjaabi,pathanoo ki tarha sahi rate nahi daitay na…..Pakistani style ma udhaar kar k bhaag jaatay hain…..

  46. d0ct0r (unregistered) on March 1st, 2008 @ 9:46 pm

    @Fas "most hated person in this blog" wow honestly i never knew that…

    i am a karachi born karachiite,my ancestors did migrated from India at the time of partition,my great grandpa succumbed to machete attack injuries inflicted on him while migrating by Sikhs less then a week after creation of Pakistan..

    now according to your definition,that makes me a muhajir as well.. despite all this the fact remains..

    Altaf bai controlled MQM is preponderantly a terrorist organization… period!

  47. sayee (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2008 @ 3:27 am

    Doctor/Awab Alvi/Teeth Maestro
    is a ""Terrorist doctor"" himself. Against the peace of Pakistan!!

    Good his cover is finally exposed!! Period.

  48. Dr. Awab Ali (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

    as they say a zebra without stripes is just another donkey – an educated person without proper exposure is just another JAMATI – I am JAMATI and i will always remain ANTI MQM – what ever you want to do – do it i will keep using the liberty of posting on this forum and will always remain anti mqm – any one has any issues ?

  49. AMMAR (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

    Wow who says JAMATI are educated. If to be in a class for more years means more educated than yes JAMATI are more educated. Don’t worry about Doctor, he is a dangar doctor and is found in abundance in rural areas of Pakistan. Worry about yourself and your misperception about being eduacted. Some day you will feel that yes you are not eduacted.

  50. Shamsi (shamsi) on March 6th, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

    I have visited the place. It is installed FREE OF CHARGE BY THE DEVELOPER, Ofcourse a Businessman trick but, the idea is conceived much earlier then the formation of AEDB.

    The Gulberg Town Muncipal office at Junction of Sharae Pakistan & Rashid Minhas road., this single light is operational since the picture has been posted here.

    if any of you wish to witness its "autoswitching" be there 15 minutes before scheduled sunset time, and or at after fajar namaz time. Light brightness is enough to match a white mercury lamp and any power starved student can study under it.

    It may be termed as whatever people wish to say but i know for sure that besides the HIGH Value maintenance free battery every thing is locally fabricated and the local skill may PLEASE be appreciated.

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