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Thursday, April 24, 2014  

Sultanate keen to develop solar energy
Ahmed Badawi

MUSCAT The traditional energy, for sure, will run out and no other renewed source for clean energy better than the solar power may be the only source for energy in the future.

Today’s solar product offerings go way beyond what most people think of when they hear the term ‘solar power’ or ‘solar energy’ – typically they imagine solar electric panels on a roof converting sunlight into electricity. While these ‘photo voltaic’ panels do represent a piece of the solar pie, many more solar-powered products and technologies utilising the solar energy exists now.

Many countries are working to make use of solar power as one of the alternative sources to replace oil and gas. Solar energy can be produced and used in the same place. In spite of such race among world countries to use solar energy, the Sultanate is still working as a beginner in this vital field. The Sultanate’s experience in the use of alternative energy needs is an important stage, which requires all efforts of state institutions to work together. Cooperation between the public and private sectors is required to push renewable energy investments forward. Building national capacity is a major step to build national cadres in the field of manufacturing solar panels and to encourage research and innovation.

Dr Hisham Lotfi, business development expert in the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said the PEIE and Knowledge Oasis began building a station on trial basis for the last two and half years. The station has round-the-clock follow-up from Sultan Qaboos University and from the Fraunhofer Institute of Germany. The results of the follow-up showed that in Muscat the station recorded 42 per cent of production of solar energy using Concentrated Photovoltaic CPV technology, while the world average stood at 30 per cent. The results also showed that the Photovoltiacs (PV) stood at 12-15 per cent while the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) stood at 10 per cent.

Hisham said the natural constituents have put the Sultanate in the forefront among the developed countries which are able to utilise solar energy and can be a centre of manufacturing and technical development. He also highlighted that the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates is finishing a comprehensive study, which shows that the cost of solar energy is on par to the cost of the traditional energy.

Eng. Esam Mansour, Director-General of Knowledge for Advanced Technologies, said there is a big relation between producing solar power and water. All technologies require water. In the technology of CSP, huge quantity of water is required to produce solar power, and also PV needs huge quantity of water, while the technology of CPV requires only four litres per week. Solar energy provides environmental and sustainable solutions with high efficiency to solve the problem of energy. Citizen’s contribution as a partner in the production of solar energy promotes awareness and consumption rationalisation.

Oman Tribune
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