China Pakistan
Pakistan's solar-powered parliament building is funded by Chinese governmentReuters

Pakistan's parliament is the first government assembly building in the world to operate solely on solar energy. The China-backed green building was inaugurated on 23 February by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at a low-key event.

The entire electricity system of the building in capital Islamabad has been shifted to solar power with the help of an 80MW power plant. Speaking at the inauguration, Sharif said: "I appreciate the initiatives of National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman for making the country's parliament the first in the world to be run entirely on solar power."

"It is encouraging to note that the Parliament's solar plant will not only meet its own energy requirements but the additional electricity will contribute to the national grid. Shortage of electricity has always been a problem for Pakistan, which the government is gradually trying to resolve," he added.

The facility is built at an approximate cost of $55m (£39m) funded by the Chinese government. Sharif also hailed the project as a symbol of growing partnership between Islamabad and Beijing.

The ceremony was attended by Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong and Speaker of the National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. At the ceremony, the Pakistani PM assured that the energy crisis in Pakistan would end by 2018. The parliament would require about 62MW of power, while the rest of 18MW will be transferred to the national grid, said the speaker. The venture was launched in April 2015 when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan.