Muscat: Meethaq, the pioneer of Islamic banking in Oman from Bank Muscat, as part of its commitment to sustainable development, inaugurated the country’s first solar-powered bank branch at a ceremony presided by Mohammed bin Salim Al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, in the presence of dignitaries and Sulaiman Al Harthy, deputy chief executive officer – Islamic Banking.
Aimed at promoting renewable sources of energy in the Sultanate, the solar-powered Al Khoud branch comes as part of the bank’s Imprints CSR initiative. Meethaq is the first bank in the Sultanate to fully operate a branch on green renewable energy. The rooftop solar panel installation at Al Khoud branch has the capacity to produce 50 kW electricity. The solar-powered branch reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 52.56 tonnes per year. Nafath Renewable Energy, a leading SME player in energy conservation, implemented the project.
Al Toobi congratulated Meethaq for the new initiative complementing environmental protection and sustainable development in the Sultanate. Al Toobi said, “This is the first private sector initiative in the Sultanate promoting solar power. The future of solar power in Oman is bright and we expect many more projects and initiatives in the coming years. Solar power and renewable energy will increase to 15 per cent of the volume of energy consumed in the Sultanate. Presently, small solar projects are in operation to light roads, houses and tourist tents. What makes the Meethaq initiative special is that it is connected to the government network. A large solar power project in the Wilayat of Ibri will produce 500 megawatt to benefit around 33,000 houses. There will be more such projects in Sohar, Duqm and Salalah where development projects are underway.”
Sulaiman Al Harthy said: “Meethaq takes pride in leading the way in promoting renewable sources of energy in the Sultanate. At a time when the role of Islamic finance is increasingly seen in supporting economic and social development, Meethaq considers this a great opportunity for defining benchmarks in the conservation of energy. Meethaq is focused on sustaining the green environment and will operate more branches on green energy. Meethaq remains committed to social responsibility initiatives contributing to sustainable development in Oman. In step with its social responsibility, Meethaq is happy to join hands with leading Omani companies to chart the way forward for the Imprints CSR initiative.”
Eng. Abdullah Al Saidi, executive director of Nafath Renewable Energy, said, “The Meethaq Al Khoud branch is one of the first commercial buildings in the Governorate of Muscat that operates with on-grid connected solar systems. We are proud to achieve the aspirations of Meethaq, our partners. Nafath Renewable Energy, registered with Riyada, is fully managed by a team of Omani engineers. The partnership with Meethaq Islamic Banking is a big boost to entrepreneurship in the Sultanate. We are grateful to Meethaq for their trust and look forward to greater partnerships in the future.”
Nafath is also involved in a series of environmental awareness workshops targeting students across the Sultanate to highlight energy-saving initiatives. The bank has joined hands with Nafath to conduct the workshops.
Bank Muscat, as part of Imprints CSR programme, has launched several initiatives to promote sustainable development through renewable energy sources. The bank has joined hands with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide the necessary know-how and tools on green home financing. The move is aimed at promoting energy efficient green buildings in the country, which will contribute to reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Notably, the bank aims to provide special incentives like lower charges and interest rates on Meethaq and baituna mortgage finance for houses featuring energy efficient design and fixtures. The bank has also launched an awareness programme to highlight business opportunities available for SMEs from renewable energy like solar power.