Oman may introduce solar-powered homes
May 14, 2017 | 9:33 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan, [email protected]
Photo - shutterstock

Muscat: If you are living in Oman, your house could soon be solar-powered.

Oman’s Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) has put out a paper that details its plans to install solar cells in homes to provide the Sultanate with a clean and renewable source of energy.

According to the paper, which is entitled ‘Public Consultation on Residential PV in Oman’, the AER is planning to install solar cells in up to 180,000 homes across the country, as part of a pilot project to test the long-term benefits of switching to solar energy.

“We are keen to solicit the views of customers, industry participants, stakeholders and interested persons on this important initiative undertaken by the authority,” said Qais Saud Al Zakwani, executive director of AER.

Qais Saud Al Zakwani, executive director of the Authority for Electricity Regulation, said this could help diversify Oman's sources of energy and help residents in the long-run. Photo: Supplied

“Significant emphasis was afforded to utilising data in Oman, including actual residential electricity consumption, hourly electricity system demand profiles, solar irradiance, and the volume, cost and emissions of natural gas used to generate electricity.”

“We also considered multiple perspectives, while considering several incentives for market participants,” he added.

“The consultation document published provides the basis for the proposed support mechanisms considered by the authority, and we believe that this initiative, if carefully implemented on a sufficient scale, could help alleviate gas supply constraints and diversify the fuel mix.”

Should this project prove to be a success, Oman could save up to half a billion rials in money spent to extract and supply natural gas as a source of energy over the next 25 years, which would also translate into energy savings of up to OMR7,200 per customer during the same period.

While the authority will install a portion of the initial solar cells, they are also on the lookout for private-sector investors to help bring solar energy into homes. This comes on the back of another project, a 20-year-old private-public initiative which has seen the setting up of a 300-kilowatt solar facility in Al Mazyouna.

Oman’s expansion into renewable energy began after an assessment published by the AER in 2008 which looked at how the Sultanate’s renewable energy resources might be effectively utilised. The study found solar energy density in Oman to be among the highest in the world.

Currently, all of Oman’s energy is sourced from fossil fuels, 96 per cent of it comes from natural gas, while the remaining 4 per cent is produced from diesel.

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