Bahrain plans big solar irrigation project
Manama, December 22, 2012
The irrigation systems on key highways and roads across Bahrain could soon run on solar energy as part of initiatives to reduce the cost of powering the country, according to a report.
If a pioneering pilot project is successful, it could lead to all irrigation and electricity systems across the five governorates being run on solar power.
The first solar panel unit has already been set up on Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Highway by Bahrain-based Abdulla Al Derazi Trading and Contracting Company, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication..
Plans are also underway to set up similar units in Zallaq and adjoining areas, before rolling out the project in residential areas, the report stated citing a top company official.
"Our aim is to encourage authorities in Bahrain to use solar energy, which is abundant in this part of the world and can help in several projects," said company managing director Mansoor Al Derazi.
"These units generate about 200 watts of electricity during peak sunlight that can be used to water date palms or shrubs.
"A timer is set that ensures the area is watered and there is no need for a worker to be physically present to do the work."
He said the units would be installed in different areas in co-operation with Gulf Fencing and Specialist Surfacing.
He also said installing the units could reduce worksite accidents, particularly labourers injured near highways.
Al Derazi also revealed plans were in the pipeline to venture into solar streetlights, which could be used in neighbourhoods and villages.
"Bahrain has the best climate condition to harness solar energy and look at Dubai, which is extensively using this concept," he explained.
"We could use solar energy in households for lighting purposes or even solar water heaters."
However, he said the project would only be successful if municipal councillors joined the "green" initiative and raised awareness about the use of solar energy in residential buildings and public parks.
"People have this perception that it is expensive to invest in solar energy equipment, but they do not realise they actually save power for years by using them," added Al Derazi.
Meanwhile, Gulf Fencing and Specialist Surfacing general manager N Pugalendi said the projects in Zallaq and Hamad Town were underway.
"The solar irrigation system concept can last for over five years with proper maintenance," he added.
"If we cover all the major highways and strategic locations where sunlight is abundant, it could help save power."
He also hopes to spread the go green concept near shopping malls, Bahrain International Airport and government buildings.
Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza in October said they were working on a green power plant in Awali that relies solely on wind and solar energy and would be tendered out next year. It is expected to generate five megawatts of power.-TradeArabia News Service