Shell awards PV projects to HTC in Oman

In a bid to support its Solar for School’s program, and encourage the development of Small and Medium enterprises, Shell is investing in firms willing to construct solar PV systems.

Its latest venture has seen HTC awarded a contract for the design and construction of two PV systems, which will be installed at two public schools – Kaab Bin Barsha School in Saham and Al Asma’s bint Al Harith school in Sohar – located in Oman’s Al Batinah North Governorate.

Bifacial PV panels, which are designed to allow light to enter from both sides, effectively generating more electricity, will be used for both systems. It is reportedly the first time such panels will be installed in Oman.

Shell, through its Solar for Schools program, has already invested in three PV systems in schools in Oman, in Nizwa, Al-Buraimi and Salalah. By mid-2018, five more sites are expected to become operational, while a further three solar school sites are in the pipeline.

“The Solar into Schools programme is one of Shell’s 5th Gift to the Nation initiatives in which Shell has collaborated with the Ministry of Education and local SMEs to install solar PV generation systems into 22 public schools across the Sultanate over a 5-year period,” said the company in a statement released.

Shell also hopes to encourage Omani youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

“We have recently trained around 20 more young Omani entrepreneurs on solar technology and the related health, safety and regulatory considerations,” said Chris Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman for Oman.

Breeze added that last year saw the very first Omani female solar PV engineers. “In the near future, we also plan to bring a bespoke and exciting educational programme to the students and teachers of the solar schools to further embed how innovation and energy can help Oman manage its energy future, while creating new jobs for Omani youth.”

Last week, Oman attracted international interest after the Oman Power and Water Procurement company (OPWP) issued a request for qualification (RFQ) to select developers interested in building a 500 MW solar PV project in the country.

The project, which will be the country’s first large utility-scale PV independent power project (IPP), will be located in Ibri, around 300 km west from Muscat, and will be built at an estimated cost of around $500 million.

A day later, the country’s major oil producer, Petroleum Development Oman LLC (PDO), issued its own tender for another 100 MW.