It is a myth that use of solar technology is not efficient and economically viable in Oman due to the dusty climate, say experts who believe that more awareness about solar power is required.
SoubhiAbdulkarim, chairman and chief executive officer at Integrated Smart Technologies, and Michael Katz, chief executive officer of Oman Aqua Science, both believe that the time is gone when solar energy was considered inefficient and ‘not worth the cost’ in dusty weather.
The loss of efficiency in a dusty climate is so minimal, Katz told ‘Times of Oman’ on the sidelines of a seminar organised recently by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) to shed light on various aspects of sustainable manufacturing.
Abdulkarim said that the climate type is no longer a cause for concern as solar energy technologies have evolved over time.
“Solar energy technologies do not necessary depend on direct sunlight,” he said, adding that nanotechnology has also made a great contribution to the field of solar energy.
“Practically, now you can take one of the solar panels, spray it with nanomaterial, and when you drop anything on it, it will not stick and will slide right off,” said Abdulkarim. So dust or water will not cause any problem, he said, calling the false notion a ‘big myth’.
He further said that solar power is not only one technology, and there are several of them which can be used, including photovoltaic system and concentrated solar power (CSP) system. Each of them has its pros and cons but, all in all, the pros outweigh the cons, Abdulkarim noted. According to him, the maintenance cost is ‘minimal’ compared to what you get out of solar energy.
Katz, who put the first commercial solar heating in place for a 370-room hotel in Manila in 1996, said that solar energy can be easily utilised at hotels in Oman. However, the biggest challenge is that it is difficult to convenience the manufacturers to engage consultants, he added.
At the hotel in Manila, electricity costs were significance reduced with only 160 square metres of panels, Katz said, adding that it can serve as a good example for hotels in Oman.