A senior engineer at Oman’s regulator for water and electricity has recommended the introduction of a feed-in tariff (FiT) programme to foster residential PV deployment in the Sultanate, local reports have said.
Khalil Alzidi of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) said that a new report produced by his department recommended the introduction of pro-renewable energy incentive mechanisms for Oman.
“The absence of feed-in tariffs is one of the (shortcomings) that needs to be addressed if private investment in renewable energy development is to make headway in the Sultanate,” Alzidi was quoted in the Oman Observer as having said.
PAEW put together the report in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), which aims to foster overseas development. According to the Observer, the country’s rooftops could host as much as 1.4GW of PV generation capacity, with the capital, Muscat, suitable for 450MW alone.
Despite a 2008 report on the Sultanate’s potential for renewable development prepared by another government organisation, the Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER), highlighting that the “level of solar energy density” (solar irradiance) in Oman is among the highest in the world, development has been slow to take off. A large-scale 200MW aggregation of ground-mounted projects first mooted to be the nation’s first significant solar project has been on hold since its inception in 2009, although development is thought to have resumed this year. PV Tech also reported earlier this summer on an ambitious 1,021MW solar thermal project at an oilfield.
According to the Observer’s reporting this morning, written from an interview with Alzidi, the study, which does not yet appear to have been made available, also found that FiT programmes for household rooftops should have a duration of 20 years to be viable. Only a small number of pilot rooftop projects have so far been installed in Oman.
Meanwhile, another local newspaper, the Times of Oman, reported two experts’ opinions from a conference that claimed solar power is viable for the Sultanate. At an event organised by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), the Times interviewed Soubhi Abdulkarim of Integrated Smart Technologies and Oman Aqua Science’s Michael Katz, who both said that more public awareness is needed of Oman’s suitability for PV development.