Oman's first solar schools launched in Nizwa, Al Buraimi and Salalah

Energy Wednesday 27/September/2017 14:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman's first solar schools launched in Nizwa, Al Buraimi and Salalah

Muscat: Shell Development Oman launched its ‘Solar into Schools’ initiative at a ceremony held at the Um Al Fadhil School for Basic Education in Birkat Al Mouz, Nizwa.
The ceremony was held under the patronage of Dr. Madihabint Ahmed Al Shaibaniya, Minister of Education, and was attended by a number of officials and dignitaries from Al Dakhliyah Governorate as well as the school’s staff and students, and Shell’s management and staff.
The ‘Solar into Schools’ initiative is part of Shell’s ‘Gift to the Nation’ in which Shell committed to train small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and contract them to install solar systems into 22 schools across all governorates of the Sultanate in the coming few years.
The completed pilot schools include the Um Al Fadhil School in Nizwa,Sultan Qaboos School in Al Buraimi and KhawlahBint Al Hakeem School in Salalah. These three public schools are the nation’s first completely solar-powered educational facilities.
Each school’s solar installation should reduce its grid-supplied electricity demand by at least 150 megawatt hours per year, which is approximately equivalent to the energy needed to power hundreds of residential homes in Oman each year. In addition, each solar school will reducearound 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
To empower local businesses, Shell is contracting Omani SMEs to install the solar panels in the schools under this project. The project, therefore, not only helps contribute to Oman’s energy transition, but also helps build a platform for development and implementation of other small-scale solar projects in Oman.
Dr. Madihabint Ahmed Al Shaibaniya, Minister of Education, said “The launch of the “Solar into Schools” initiative is part of the real partnership between the public and private sectors. This initiative is in line with the ministry's continuous efforts to benefit from the technical solutions offered by private sector institutions to implement the Government’s visions in searching for alternatives for renewable energy to save our environment. We are delighted that Shell has supported Oman's efforts to transform solar energy in a sustainable way through this initiative, through which comes the installation of solar photovoltaic systems for 22 public school buildings in different governorates of the Sultanate for a period of five years. Four schools have been launched in the governorates of Muscat, Buraimi, Dhofar and the Dhakhiliya, which we are celebrating today the launch of the project in it. In the coming year, the project will be launched in Al Batinah North and in Al BatinahShouth.”
Dr. Madihabint E. stated, “The importance of the project is to use renewable energy from the local environment to reduce gas emissions and harmful components to the environment, and to instill in the curriculum with the importance and benefits of exploiting local renewable resources such as solar energy through the preparation of practical training packages for students. A number of technicians and engineers were trained in the installation and maintenance of photovoltaic cells, and other courses will be developed to include all workers in the energy sector.”
Dr. Madihabint also added, “The implementation of this initiative in a number of schools in the Sultanate is linked to enhancing students' scientific knowledge of the concept of sustainable development and related development aspects, and how to apply them in their surrounding society. They will undoubtedly contribute to raising awareness about alternative sources of energy in the Sultanate in terms of sources and uses, how to rationalize consumption, and types of solar stations. It will also inspire students' imagination in evaluating simple home practices and behaviors that lead to conservation of energy and other aspects.”
“At the same time, this initiative is linked to a number of educational objectives that the Ministry seeks to achieve on the ground through a number of programs and activities implemented by the Ministry through the Department of Innovation and the Scientific Olympiad, including the Knowledge Development Competition, which aims to promote scientific thinking among students. And the implementation of scientific projects addressing a number of societal issues. In cooperation with PDO, the Ministry has also launched the Oman Renewable Energy Development Company Award (OEDCO), which aims to promote students' awareness of using renewable energy as an important alternative to non-renewable energy. To promote innovation in schools, to prepare the next generation to deal with global energy crises, to create opportunities for innovation and competition in this field of scientific competition, and to instill the values of environmental protection among young people and benefit from the potential of the Omani environment in renewable energy to contribute to the diversification of the economy. As well, providing knowledge-based and innovative scientific solutions that address energy issues and convert them into industrial products,” Dr. Madihabint said.
Dr. Madihabint thanked Shell Oman for this initiative, which will contribute to enhancing aspects of innovation and scientific thinking in line with the directives of the Ministry and the Scientific Research Council, which adopts several projects in this field.
Chris Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman in Oman, said the ‘Gift to the Nation’ reflects the long-standing relationship Shell has with Oman. We hope that the full potential of the initiative is realized in the coming years and we look forward to further supporting sustainable and energy efficient initiatives in the Sultanate in the future”.
He said, “We are very impressed with the Omani SMEs undertaking these projects. ajwa for Solar Energy Solutions Systems LLC, run by its CEO Juma Al Batrani and Hussam Technology CompanyLLC, run by its CEO Dr Firas Abduwani, executed the projects in Nizwa, Al Buraimi and Salalah to internationally recognized standards and should be in a good position to build on this experience in future projects both for Shell and other customers now that the Authority for Electricity Regulation has launched its Sahim scheme. In addition to the project promoting awareness among students at the schools about energy sustainability and renewables, we hope they will also be enthused by the innovation and entrepreneurship shown by Fajwa and HTC and that some may be encouraged to pursue their own entrepreneurial dreams.”