Sun on the rooftops of Muscat

Sun on the rooftops of Muscat

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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Oman launches a project to install solar panels on the rooftops of residential buildings. The initiative will save an estimated $1.3 billion over the next 25 years

The white-walled houses of Muscat, in strict compliance with Islamic and local civil law requiring that no building be taller than the minarets of the mosques, are going to be fitted with solar photovoltaic panels, ensuring the Omani capital’s energy self-sufficiency. Oman has enriched itself on oil exports, but now it is turning to alternative energies in order to end its dependence on fossil fuels. The government’s 2020 energy plan provides for the development of new energy sources, first and foremost wind and solar. That is how a major initiative was born to enable the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of the sultanate’s residential buildings. The project will involve considerable funding from local and foreign investors. According to the Oman Daily Observer, the idea was proposed by the Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER). Solar panels are to be installed on 10-30% of the city’s residential buildings, promising advantages to both property owners and the Omani electric industry, not to mention the government of Muscat. The initiative will be implemented in stages under the supervision of AER, which will be directly in charge of the first tranche of installations. Once the panels have been installed, and their real output demonstrated, AER will proceed to study the problem of scaling up, proposing the undertaking as an opportunity for investment funds. According to preliminary estimates, the rooftop solar panels will save $1.3 billion over the next 25 years.