Opportunities abound in solar power supply chain

Business Saturday 10/March/2018 13:50 PM
By: Times News Service
Opportunities abound in solar power supply chain

Muscat: The Oman American Business Centre (OABC), in partnership with renewable energy advocates Shams Global Solutions (SGS) and Dii Desert Energy (Dii), is hosting their one-day Renewable Energy Series to discuss the benefits and opportunities of being a part of the local supply-chain in solar photovoltaic (PV) power in the Sultanate.
The event is supported by the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) and Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), and will be held on March 13 in Muscat. Entitled ‘Local Content Providers in Solar PV IPP Supply Chains’, the gathering will give participants a chance to have in-depth understanding of the Sultanate’s policy towards renewable energy, to learn of the methodology for running solar PV IPP projects and create awareness of local content providers and Local Community Companies (LCC).
The event will focus on providing a forum for networking between local and international stakeholders and all relevant entities with a commercial interest in current and future solar PV independent power producer (IPP) projects in Oman. “Some 20-30 project developers and international contractors will participate in this event, and we are providing space for 90 more stakeholders to interface together,” said Rebecca Olson, executive director of the OABC.
The aim of the event is to bring together and engage in an honest, open dialogue with local and international stakeholders and all relevant entities with a commercial interest in current and future solar PV IPP projects in Oman. Topics for discussion include similarities between conventional gas-fired and permitting aspects and requirements for PV IPPs, finance and technology roundtable, local supply chain and partnership structure and organisational and regulatory aspects of contracting and joint ventures. Attendees will also learn first-hand how the independent power producer model works in Oman and showcase examples of successful industrial control systems (ICVs) in the energy sector. Finally, the event will act as a vehicle for networking between local and international investors.
“Globally, there are nearly 10 million people working in renewable energy-related professions, and almost one-third of those are in solar photovoltaics”, says Michael Tsang of Shams Global Solutions (SGS). He added, “Most people will think of solar panels and manufacturing jobs when they hear about these big projects, but in fact more than 75 per cent of all solar-power jobs come downstream of manufacturing and occur in distribution, project development, installation, and operations and maintenance, for example. The growth in these professions is likely to keep pace. Nearly 74 GW of new solar-PV capacity was added in 2016 globally, already surpassing gas-fired power plants by more than triple and surpassing the net-growth in coal”.
Dr Firas Al Abduwani, OABC’s Renewable Energy Committee’s Co-Chair added, “Oman is blessed with some of the best solar irradiance levels in the world and the current levelized costs of electricity achieved by Photovoltaic IPPs mean that the Sultanate will be able to break away from its total dependency on fossil fuels for electricity generation. Some of the more exciting and beneficial changes include a cleaner, sustainable environment and economic diversification while long term advantages will be reflected in the creation of new businesses and employment”.
Additionally, the current large-scale solar projects are being tendered as independent power purchase (IPP) projects. Oman boasts having the first conventional IPP project in the GCC, dating back to the early 1990’s. This event will highlight Oman’s methodology for running IPP projects and what this means for solar IPP projects. There will be further discussion on the policies towards renewable energy commitments in the Sultanate extending into 2040 and beyond.
"Local value creation is a key success factor for solar projects. With the widely recognised studies on localisation and a unique network, Dii is delighted to help facilitate the right partnerships to help Oman reduce emissions,” said Cornelius Matthes, senior vice president of Dii Desert Energy.
Ali Daud, President of the OABC, said, “Making solar a reliable, stable power source for Oman’s energy future is the focal point of the Sultanate’s policy towards renewable energy. This country has one of the highest solar radiation per square metre — there is an excellent potential for solar energy development and deployment.”
The event is being sponsored by both OPWP and PDO and will be addressed by a keynote speech from Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mahrouqi of the Public Authority of Electricity and Water (PAEW). More than 120 companies are expected to be present at the event as well as members of the general public.