AER launches grid-connected solar power generation initiative

May 24, 2017

The Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) on Wednesday launched ‘Sahim’, a renewable energy initiative that will allow and introduce residential grid-connected solar power generation systems. The initiative is expected to help in gas savings over long-term.

Taking advantage of the country’s abundant year-round sunshine, Sahim, which means ‘contribute’ in Arabic, will introduce rooftop solar panels on buildings across the country to generate sustainable and clean energy. This self-generated electricity will help in reducing reliance on traditional fossil fuels and allow customers to benefit from exporting excess electricity back into the grid.

“We are pleased to launch the first phase of this landmark initiative and do our part in advancing the deployment of renewable energy applications in Oman.

“Sahim is an initiative of tremendous national significance. It will help us reduce our dependence on traditional sources of energy like diesel and gas, allowing us to direct these valuable resources to other projects that will benefit the long-term sustainability of the sultanate,” said Qais Saud al Zakwani, executive director, AER.

“The use of renewable energy will also reduce our carbon footprint, protect the quality of our air and have other positive benefits. The authority has consulted and collaborated with Riyada to ensure Sahim has the maximum possible impact in enabling small and medium enterprises to capitalise on this opportunity,” he added.

The authority believes that the adoption of residential small-scale grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could also result in CO2 emission reductions over 25 years between 3.2-10mn tonnes and average reductions in annual customer bills between 34 per cent and 42 per cent.

Eng Hilal al Ghaithi, Sahim project manager at AER, said the project uses PV solar panels to generate electricity in homes as well as public and private facilities. “To support safe and efficient implementation of the panels, we have developed a strong regulatory framework that covers all aspects of their use, including the connection of the panels to local electricity networks. All customers wishing to install solar panels must follow these regulations at all stages of their involvement, from obtaining the necessary permits through to the final operation phase,” he said.

The authority began to study the introduction of renewable energy and its incorporation into future electricity requirements in 2008.