Girls go solar in Saudi university

The installed grid-connected 20.15 kWp rooftop photovoltaic system and the team behind it. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 04 December 2017
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Girls go solar in Saudi university

JEDDAH: Effat University’s female senior students on Monday participated in the first solar energy training program to install a rooftop solar photovoltaic system by Saudi female engineers.
Malak Al-Nory, dean of graduate studies and research, said that the solar energy training program was a joint effort between the university and Altaqaa Alternative Solutions Company, which aims to train students and faculty members to operate a self-sufficient system.
“We’ve had several companies offer to install solar roofs for us, but we wanted our students to experience it firsthand, to partake in designing and installation. We’re looking for many studies to be conducted as an aftermath of this program.”
The installed solar system alongside an electric grid helps generate power for the deanship of graduate studies and research building. The solar energy program cost Effat University SR150,000 ($40,000) to install.
Wajd Al-Mehdar, an electrical engineering student at Effat, expressed her gratitude and enthusiasm to Arab News. “I’m so proud to be part of it — to be given a chance by the university to do something not many girls get to do. There were almost no obstacles as Altaqaa provided us with thorough training sessions along with equipment and information.”
Effat University is the first university in Saudi Arabia that offers women the opportunity to obtain a master’s in energy engineering. It shows Effat’s support for the objectives of Vision 2030 to ascertain “a sustainable non-oil dependent future for the Kingdom,” said Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, president of Effat University.


First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019
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First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.