|12 December, 2018

Oman to rollout tender for large-scale solar rooftop in H1 2019

The project is part of the National Solar Energy Initiative, dubbed Sahim

Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker cleans solar panels on the rooftop of the Yiwu International Trade City in Yiwu, Zhejiang province May 20, 2011.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A worker cleans solar panels on the rooftop of the Yiwu International Trade City in Yiwu, Zhejiang province May 20, 2011.

REUTERS/Stringer

Oman - A tender for the installation of rooftop solar systems on an initial batch of 3,000 residential buildings in the Sultanate will be floated in the first half of 2019, the Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER) announced here yesterday.

The project is part of the National Solar Energy Initiative, dubbed Sahim, which seeks to promote the use of clean energy resources in support of Omans energy diversification goals, said Eng Hilal al Ghaithi, Director of Customer Affairs and Sahim Project Director at the Authority.

The official made the announcement at the launch of Sahim-2, envisaging the large-scale rollout of solar rooftop photovoltaic (PV) capacity as part of the Sultanates push towards renewable energy resources to help meet the nations galloping energy requirements.

Sahim-2 aims to drive the wide-scale deployment of small PV systems (3kWp 5kWp) atop between 10 – 30 per cent of residential premises in Oman, Al Ghaithi said.

Unlike Sahim-1, the costs of procuring, installing, operating and maintaining Sahim-2 residential PV systems will not be paid for by customers but will be met by private sector entities who will recover related costs through contracts with licensed suppliers, he added at a ceremony marking the Authoritys launch of the Sahim-2 solar rooftop, as well as its Yaseer energy conservation initiatives. The launch took place under the auspices of Dr Khamis bin Saif al Jabri, Chairman of the Implementation and Follow-up Support Unit, at the Grand Millennium Hotel yesterday. Residential buildings deemed suitable for solar rooftop panels under the Sahim-2 project will be identified during the first quarter of 2019, said Al Ghaithi. Installations atop the first lot of 3,000 buildings are due to be completed by 2023, he noted.

The Authority, the official said, is currently working with consultants to develop a legal and operational framework that sets out the principles and guidelines necessary for planning, implementing and developing technical and financial models for the Sahim-2 initiative, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all the participating entities.

An agent will be appointed to monitor the installation of solar energy systems, to establish a record of the assets of all these systems and to monitor the electrical energy produced during the project period, in order to ensure the compatibility of performance to obtain all the objectives and benefits expected from the project, he said.

Unless Sahim-2, the Sahim-1 initiative, which was launched in 2017, enables all manner of customers to install solar panels on their premises at their own cost, subject to approvals from the authorities concerned. Output from these installations can be consumed themselves, with any surplus offered for sale to the grid at Bulk Supply Tariffs. In coordination with the relevant entities, the Authority has facilitated the procedures for obtaining the necessary approvals for solar panel installation on public, private or residential premises according to the regulations and controls. Coordination with SMEs and the Distribution Code Review Panel continued for registration and licensing of installation companies, said Al Ghaithi.

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