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Oman urged to use solar for water desal projects

Study identifies potential for such projects in rural areas where water demand is low

The study encourages the use of solar power for water desalination projects.
The study encourages the use of solar power for water desalination projects.

Oman should give greater consideration to using solar power for future water desalination projects, a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in collaboration with Oman’s Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) has suggested.

According to the report, solar energy has become an attractive option for water desalination following a steep drop in the cost of photo-voltaic (PV) based systems for electricity generation and is particularly competitive in rural areas where diesel is the primary fuel for electricity generation.

The report, entitled “Sultanate of Oman — Renewables Readiness Assessment”, particularly highlighted the potential for solar energy based water desalination in the northern areas of the Sultanate.

“There is potential in implementing pilot desalination plants that use solar energy in rural areas (North Oman, Musandam coastal areas) where the demand for water is very low and the water supplied through ships transport from desalination plants, is economically feasible considering diesel price and cost of Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of the ships,” the report said.

Solar PV has also become “an economically attractive solution for power production in the MIS (Main Interconnected System serving the northern half of Oman) and the Salalah system replacing gas-fired power”, the report added.

IRENA also tabled the option of using solar thermal desalination, where the heat is supplied by concentrating solar collectors. However, solar thermal desalination processes are being tested in pilot projects and are not yet available as commercial solutions, it added.

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