Saudi properties receive green light to use solar panels

Saudi properties receive green light to use solar panels
The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing announced this week that it began to implement the safety requirements necessary to install solar energy cells in residential buildings and facilities. (GettyImages)
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Updated 10 February 2021

Saudi properties receive green light to use solar panels

Saudi properties receive green light to use solar panels
  • Saudi Arabia’s vast and arid regions are considered a great hub for solar potential

JEDDAH: With sunlight lasting approximately nine hours a day in Saudi Arabia, properties in the Kingdom have been given the green light to install solar panels as an alternative form of electricity generation.

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing announced this week that it began to implement the safety requirements necessary to install solar energy cells in residential buildings and facilities.

Participating entities in this project include the Ministry of Energy; the Electricity and Co-Generation Regulatory Authority; the Ministry of Commerce and Investment; the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy; and the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization.

This follows the Saudi Ministry of Energy’s announcement that small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems — one or more solar panels combined with an inverter and other electrical hardware — are ready to produce electricity for consumers’ houses and enterprises, which are to be later connected to the Kingdom’s electrical grid.

Saudi Arabia’s vast and arid regions are considered a great hub for solar potential. Rich in sunlight and gas, the Kingdom is moving toward diversifying its domestic power supply, and companies such as Saudi Aramco have been using PV panels as a renewable energy source since the 1980s. 

Some of the benefits of using PV systems are that they are environmentally friendly; efficient, as solar energy can be made available almost anywhere there is sunlight; cost-effective; low-maintenance; and silent.

PV systems represent a step forward in addressing the issue of climate change. To this end, Saudi Arabia has been promoting the concept of a circular carbon economy, a topic widely and repeatedly discussed during the Kingdom’s presidency of the 2020 G20. 

Designing and installing a PV power system requires strict attention to guidelines. Safety practices are critical to reducing or eliminating installation errors, electrical hazards, or injuries, Walid Al-Ghamdi, head of projects and engineering management at the Public Administration Institute in Makkah, explained to Arab News.

The ministry pointed out that all service users should be aware of these requirements, including inspectors, contractors, designers, engineering and consulting offices, and beneficiaries of the system.

Before receiving the green light to install PV systems on office buildings or residential structures, the relevant authority will review related documents and plans and examine the building’s construction.

“Our buildings have good rooftop spaces, which makes them suitable to install these systems, compared to houses in other regions in the world, like Europe, for example,” said Al-Ghamdi.

“However, since PV systems usually cover large areas, residential buildings can definitely benefit from this energy but cannot be dependent on it completely,” he added.

PV systems are thus best used in large buildings, like malls, and across vast areas, like car parking fields, he suggested. As for the cost-efficiency of solar energy, Al-Ghamdi explained that it is a relative matter. “In general, the energy generated by the electric wire is more affordable inside cities, but for remote areas, PV energy is more economical.” 

FASTFACT

Rich in sunlight and gas, the Kingdom is moving toward diversifying its domestic power supply.

The cost of solar energy systems decreases while efficiency increases at an approximate rate of 20 to 30 percent on an annual basis, according to Al-Ghamdi.

During the 11th session of the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency earlier in January, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy President Khalid Al-Sultan said that Saudi Arabia aims to generate 50 percent of the nation’s power needs using renewable energy by 2030, with the remainder provided by gas.

Al-Sultan said the Kingdom is working to create a sustainable renewable energy sector that includes industries, services, the localization of technologies and the development of human resources.

“Saudi Arabia is heading in the right direction when it comes to renewable, clean energy and saving the environment,” said Al-Ghamdi. “It can play a pioneering role in this field.”

Al-Ghamdi highlighted the recently announced high-tech, environmentally friendly city, The Line, to be located in NEOM, as the best example of applied clean energy.


Exhibition displays key expansions at the Makkah Grand Mosque

Exhibition displays key expansions at the Makkah Grand Mosque
Updated 28 September 2021

Exhibition displays key expansions at the Makkah Grand Mosque

Exhibition displays key expansions at the Makkah Grand Mosque

MAKKAH: President General for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sudais inaugurated the Field and Digital Saudi Expansions at the Grand Mosque Exhibition.

Al-Sudais said that the exhibition showcases the most prominent Saudi projects and expansions at the Grand Mosque. The exhibition also aims to enrich visitors’ experience and highlight the efforts of the Saudi leadership in this regard.


Saudi talent foundation awards 3,000 scholarships to youth

Saudi talent foundation awards 3,000 scholarships to youth
Updated 28 September 2021

Saudi talent foundation awards 3,000 scholarships to youth

Saudi talent foundation awards 3,000 scholarships to youth
  • The average time spent training and following up with students reached 7,000 hours for some students

JEDDAH: Three thousand scholarships were granted to students by King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) during the foundation’s three-day Saudi National Day celebrations.
The educational and training scholarships covering various scientific fields are part of Mawhiba’s three-day photography exhibition, “A home for every talent ... a story for every passion,” held under the auspices of Dr. Saud bin Saeed Al-Mutahmi, secretary-general of the foundation, at Granada Mall in Riyadh.
Mawhiba students in the Kingdom who have undergone training programs have achieved significant international achievements: 453 international awards in scientific competitions and 83 awards at the International Science and Engineering Fair, the most important scientific competition in the world.
In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, students were granted scholarships after completing their training. The average time spent training and following up with students, from discovering their talent to their participation at an international level, has reached 7,000 hours for some students.
“The exhibition, which has witnessed a high turnout of visitors from different segments of society, chose to replace regular gifts and prizes by gifting participants opportunities to improve their future, raise the quality of their lives and work with them to discover, develop and guide their children’s talents properly,” Mawhiba said in an official statement.
The 91-picture exhibition followed the journey of some of the Kingdom’s talents, starting with scouting them to winning awards and the empowerment of talented students in institutions across
Saudi Arabia.
The Mawhiba exhibition was divided into three parts. The first is a photo exhibition for students who have won local and international competitions.
The second is an interactive theater with general competitions, various questions, and free scientific scholarships. The third included the “I am a talent” event for children, featuring activities on creative thinking skills, a drawing competition about the Kingdom, and documentaries by Mawhiba and its programs.


Who's Who: Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh

Who's Who: Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh
Updated 28 September 2021

Who's Who: Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh

Who's Who: Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil, secretary of the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh

Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil was recently appointed as secretary of the King Fahd National Library in Riyadh following Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah’s decision.

Al-Zamil is the former supervisor of the Deanship of Library Affairs at King Saudi University in Riyadh, where he worked for the past 20 years.

He joined King Saudi University in 2008 as an associate professor at the Department of Library and Information Sciences. He was promoted to associate professor in 2011 and then to professor in 2018.

Prior to that, Al-Zamil worked at the King Faisal Air Academy in Riyadh, where he served as an associate professor between 2002 and 2008 and lecturer between 1991 and 1999.

Al-Zamil received his bachelor’s degree with a second-class honors in library and information studies from the Department of Literature at King Saud University. After that, he moved to the US to complete his higher education in library and information studies. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and his Ph.D. from the Public University of Florida. He participated in various regional and international conferences. His research interests include e-government, digital libraries, e-learning and distance learning, and research methodologies in the libraries and information field.

He is a member of several scientific and academic societies, including the Saudi Library and Information Association, the Saudi Computer Society, and the Beta Phi Mu International Honor Society for library and information studies.

The King Fahd National Library in Riyadh is one of the most prestigious libraries in Saudi Arabia. It was established as a monument on the occasion of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz ascending to the throne in 1982.

The library is one of the most important cultural buildings in Saudi Arabia and an architectural masterpiece. It was designed by Professor Eckhard Gerber and his Gerber Architekten team in cooperation with the Riyadh Municipality, which provided the land and technical, architectural, and administrative supervision.


Makkah’s museums open their doors again to visitors for a cultural journey

Makkah’s museums open their doors again to visitors for a cultural journey
Updated 28 September 2021

Makkah’s museums open their doors again to visitors for a cultural journey

Makkah’s museums open their doors again to visitors for a cultural journey
  • They show how people of the city shaped a wealth of human knowledge through various epochs

MAKKAH: Ten museums in Makkah have opened their doors to showcase Makkah’s unique identity throughout history.

The museums house some of the rarest artifacts, illustrations, and collections that reveal the human experiences of the city.

They show how the people of Makkah managed to shape a wealth of human knowledge through various epochs and the progress made after the prophecy and its noble teachings came into existence.

The museums also contribute to raising cultural and humanitarian awareness with all their cognitive messages and elaboration of the life of fathers and grandfathers.

The Culture Ministry’s Museums Commission told Arab News that it is giving Al-Zaher Palace Museum special attention, hoping to reopen the museum to visitors as soon as possible after it was closed due to the pandemic.

The director of the Makkah History Center, Dr. Fawwaz Al-Dahhas, told Arab News that the museums have put in extraordinary efforts to further the Islamic, civilizational and cultural heritage of the city. 

The museums include Byzantine and Roman coins of all kinds and the Islamic dinar, silver, and gold used during the Umayyad era.

He added: “It’s best that the efforts are united under the auspices of one national museum called ‘Makkah throughout history,’ where visitors can expand what they needed to know about Makkah.” 

Al-Dahhas said that developing the Al-Saqaf Palace in the Maabad neighborhood would combine heritage and culture through its restoration. Once completed, it will become an Islamic museum.

In his book “The Presidential Palace in Maabad,” Al-Dahhas described the surface area of the palace and its rooms still have their original furnishings and design.

Saad Al-Sharif, a researcher in Makkah’s history, said museums are essential to educate societies and advance science and evolution. “A student can leave a museum knowing that they would like to become a scientist, a leader, a musician or a writer,” he said.

FASTFACT

The Two Holy Mosques Architecture Exhibition is one of the most prominent museums in Saudi Arabia and is home to treasures and artifacts dating back more than 1,400 years. Opened in 2000 during the reign of the late King Fahd, it contains seven main halls highlighting Islamic civilization.

“Our society’s knowledge must be consolidated and presented through the museums to form a harmonious cultural structure. Some museums teach what the classrooms students do not teach,” Al-Sharif added.

The researcher said tourists always look for museums in new countries as “we believe them to be the true wealth of any people; ancient collections in those museums constitute an important source for society, as well as economic, social and cultural support, as they provide a rich and different experience for visitors, and express a person’s identity, existence and depth and authenticity of their culture.”

Al-Sharif said that Saudi museums inspire delight and that they illustrate a history they could only learn about through museums and their evidence, tools, places, and names.

Majdouh Al-Ghamdi, owner of the Museum of Human Heritage, said that Makkah’s museums complement each other and exhibit their rare heritage artifacts for all visitors.

Its exhibits include household appliances used in Makkah before electricity was introduced, a section on Saudi tribes, and displays on the role of the city’s residents in serving pilgrims and the history of the ancient Madrasah Al-Sawlatiyah, one of the oldest schools in the Arabian Peninsula.

It also includes Byzantine and Roman coins of all kinds and the Islamic dinar, silver, and gold used during the Umayyad era. Visitors will also discover weapons such as cannons, knives, daggers, swords and guns.

Al-Ghamdi said that museums offer full knowledge and satisfy people looking to feel passion about heritage. They feel content in the historical depth and wealth of Makkah in particular, he added. He said that all those museums seek to occasionally develop their exhibits by buying rare stamps, newspapers, maps, coins, rifles, swords, old household items, spears, and traditional clothes.


Saudi foreign minister invited by UAE counterpart to attend world decision-makers’ forum

Saudi foreign minister invited by UAE counterpart to attend world decision-makers’ forum
Updated 28 September 2021

Saudi foreign minister invited by UAE counterpart to attend world decision-makers’ forum

Saudi foreign minister invited by UAE counterpart to attend world decision-makers’ forum

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has received an invitation from his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan to attend the 12th edition of the annual world decision-makers’ Sir Bani Yas Forum.

The invite was received on behalf of the prince by Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji when he met with the Emirati ambassador to the Kingdom, Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif Al-Nahyan, at the ministry’s headquarters in Riyadh.

The Sir Bani Yas Forum brings together senior decision-makers from across the Middle East and around the world to discuss some of the most crucial issues facing the region.