Holy Solar

7 April 2015

The Kingdom of Jordan has announced it will roll out solar power to the country’s 6000 mosques by the end of the year. The move comes as part of a recent announcement made by the energy minister, revealing plans to ramp up renewables.

The Kingdom, which lacks the oil and gas resources of neighbour states Iraq and Saudi Arabia, imports about 96 per cent of its energy needs annually.  According to the UN, this amounts to an estimated 13 per cent of Jordan’s GDP. Given the region’s political unrest, the volatility of the international oil market and the 300-plus days of sunshine a year that the country is blessed with, the country has turned towards solar.

The scheme will start with an initial 120 solar mosques, which will power air condition and lighting.

Jordan’s government is focused on a renewable-energy future. The Kingdom removed oil subsidies in 2008, introduced incentives for renewable energy in 2010 and is aiming for at least 10 per cent of the country’s energy to be produced by renewables by 2020. This will help ensure a secure, and affordable, energy supply for the growing Muslim nation, which is experiencing a population growth rate of just over two per cent a year.

In 2012 the government introduced net-metering laws which allow Jordanians to sell solar energy back to the grid. The country is also exploring wind energy, with the development of the first wind farm in Tafila, expected to produce 117-megawatts.  

In New Zealand, companies like solarcityVector, PowerSmart Solar, Reid Technology, Solarcraft, SolarKing and Sunergise International are helping to mainstream solar power. Innovative New Zealand businesses are also embracing solar power, for example last year Air New Zealand installed the country’s largest solar array: 48 solar panels – enough to power 23 households.

One of the Sustainable Business Network’s four transformation areas focuses on Renewables. Find out more here.