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.


Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs
Updated 6 sec ago

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

Ithra launches cultural and heritage programs

DHAHRAN: In celebration of the 91st Saudi National Day, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture has launched programs and activities to highlight diversity across the Kingdom.

Ithra will engage visitors through a cultural journey that embodies the unity of the Saudi people and their interdependence, from north to south and from east to west, through the Tafaseel exhibition.

The exhibition will express the diversity of fashion as part of Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage across regions, as well as telling stories about the civilizations that inhabited them.

The national day activities aim to present a collection of interactive art, performances, traditional local crafts, cultural activities, workshops, and knowledge-based games for all age groups.

The activities continue until Saturday.

 


Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees
Updated 25 min 3 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

Two Holy Mosques management trains 600 female employees

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced on Friday that it has so far trained around 600 female employees of its agencies or assisting agencies.

The Women’s Development Affairs Agency, led by Al-Anoud Al-Aboud, deputy president for women’s development affairs, employs 310 of those women.

Around 200 women work for the Agency for Women’s Scientific, Intellectual and Guidance Affairs, led by Noura Al-Thuwaibi.

The rest of the trained women work at the Agency for Women’s Administrative and Service Affairs, under the leadership of Kamelia Al-Daadi, the general presidency said in a statement.

 

 


Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day
Updated 25 September 2021

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

Saudi Arabia joins global community to celebrate World Sign Day

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined the international community by participating in World Sign Day, celebrated on Sept. 23.

The Ministry of Health implemented the “We Are with You” initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community. The MOH trained its staff to work with individuals who are deaf, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.

Sign language includes 35 manual symbols, each representing a letter of the alphabet, and five other symbols representing diacritics.

The Arabic language also includes numbers in its sign language system; Arabic sign language includes 53 manual symbols representing number, in single or multiple digits.

The MOH also launched the Awlawiya (Priority) Card, one of the Patient Experience Center’s initiatives to facilitate and accelerate procedures and services provided to some groups (including the deaf) inside health facilities.

 

 

Other electronic services include the Queries on Treatment Abroad Orders Service and the Mawid (Appointment) Service.

Moreover, it launched the Online Registration initiative for people with disabilities, including the deaf, through its E-Health system. The platform enables MOH officials to follow up on registration and classification electronically, as well as oversee the issuance of Transportation Discount Cards and Traffic Facilitation Cards.

The MOH linked the E-Health platform with other authorities, such as the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Ministry of Education, by automating all procedures to ensure speed and uniformity of service provision. Furthermore, the ministry launched the Eshara app, which provides direct services to the deaf and hearing-impaired, and which allows them to benefit from the services offered by the 937 Service Center.

The app allows visual communication between deaf people and the remote sign interpretation communication center; the interpreter translates the signs as a third party through the digital platform by converting the sign language to spoken Arabic (and vice versa), serving as a mediator between the employee and the deaf person.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a series of training programs about sign language basics in its branches in the Kingdom, trained its members and employees in all sectors to understand sign language, and raised their awareness on how to communicate with deaf people to ensure access of all services with ease.

Decoder

'We Are with You' campaign

It is the Saudi Ministry of Health initiative to support deaf people, raising staff awareness about the deaf community, teaching them sign language rules and basics, and helping them find ways to support deaf patients overcome challenges.


ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization
Updated 25 September 2021

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara, in KSA’s Northern Borders region, yield signs of early civilization

ThePlace: Dawqara,  in KSA's Northern Borders region, shows signs of civilization during late late Roman period 

Dawqara is located 40 kilometers west of At-Turaif, near a mountain known as Aqrun or Dawqara. The site is registered in a comprehensive archeological survey program.

Rainwater accumulates on the northern side of the site and forms a large lake. The southern side is made up of volcanic rocks with many stone circles. Some stone tools have also been found.

One of the site’s most important artifacts is a square palace that was built from large volcanic stones. Its construction takes into consideration the straightness and solidity of pillars, linked by clay.

The palace’s door is located in the middle of the eastern wall and is 2.85 meters long. The palace comprises two parts. The first is a yard that constitutes the largest part of the building. The second has seven rooms on the western wall, each 4.5 meters wide.

The history of the palace is not clear, as an archeological excavation is required to extract, study and compare artifacts. 

But, according to preliminary studies, the palace was built in the pre-Islamic era and there is other evidence indicating that it was used until the Umayyad era. 


The Comedy Club in Jeddah is back in business 

The Comedy Club in Jeddah is back in business 
Updated 25 September 2021

The Comedy Club in Jeddah is back in business 

The Comedy Club in Jeddah is back in business 
  • For almost 500 days, the club was left empty because of government regulations to fight COVID-19

JEDDAH: After a prolonged interruption due to the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic, The Comedy Club in Jeddah is back in business, and fans are flocking to it for some comic relief.
For almost 500 days, the club was left empty because of the pandemic and government regulations to fight COVID-19, preventing all live shows and mass gatherings that could put people at risk. But with restrictions easing, more people are aware of the rules and regulations and the decline in daily cases, and the club is back in full swing.
“The General Entertainment Authority reached out to us to return comedy shows, and we are one of the activities of the summer season festival in Jeddah,” Majed Al-Amoudi, comedian and content manager at The Comedy Club, told Arab News. “We perform live shows four days a week now: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.”
Al-Amoudi explained that because the shows are primarily theatrical, the pandemic significantly affected the ability to operate, and everything was put on indefinite hold. However, as with everything going digital nowadays, he said the club managed to provide entertaining content on its YouTube channel.

“The Comedy Club channel (has) a lot of programs like ‘Althalothiyat’ where we host famous people or influencers, but now, we are back to theater and going live.”
He said the club is planning for future events after the summer season is finished on Sept. 25. “We will return to our regular programing and we have major projects in the works with different parties, both in the government and private sectors, but can’t reveal at the moment.”
Mohammed Saleh, a 40-year-old private sector worker, said: “It feels good to be back in the theater. The comedians are brilliant and every month I would look forward to attending a show. 
“Watching shows on YouTube can only provide some relief; the live atmosphere is something else. The night is filled with laughter to almost tears, and that’s what you want in a comedy show, belly laughs and tears,” he added.

With plans for bigger and better shows in the works, Al-Amoudi highlighted that the club was sponsored by the GEA and received special attention from its governor, Turki Al-Sheikh, for three years, with the GEA the primary sponsor of the club during the Jeddah and Sharqiya seasons in 2019.
Founded in 2012, it was initially called the Jeddah Comedy Club. Located in Al-Shallal Theme Park, it hosts theatrical shows, stand-up comedy, improvisation, and musical nights. “We also perform theatricals and sketches, we write, edit, act it, and perform it all,” Al-Amoudi said.
He revealed that he is also on the hunt for female comics as part of the club’s future expansion. “We are always looking for female comedians, or even girls who want to be professional stand-up comedians, so that we can give them courses and prepare them for the entertainment world. We are talent hunting throughout the Kingdom for sure.
“Vision 2030 supports all arts in various fields and supports the development of the youth of the country. Of course, all our goals are in line with Vision 2030, and it is great supporter for us,” he added.