Electrical power generated from “rooftop” solar photovoltaic systems in Lebanon now exceeds 50 megawatts, said Pierre al-Khoury, general-director of the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation. This is up from 9.45 MW in 2015. The country looks set to reach its target of 100 MW by 2020.
“The market [for solar PV] is moving forward. Although the financing mechanism was briefly put on hold, BDL subsidized loans are now back on track. Every week we get between two to three applications for solar PV projects from homes to hospitals to commercial establishments,” Khoury said.
Generating electricity directly from the sun, and from other renewable sources, seems like the most logical choice for a country experiencing severe shortfalls in electrical power production, as well as suffering from alarming levels of atmospheric pollution due to hydrocarbon fuel-burning power plants and private generators.
Lebanon’s inhabitants have since antiquity both worshipped and highly valued the sun’s life-giving rays that drench this land with bright sunlight for most of the year.
According to the UNDP’s 2015 Solar PV Status Report for Lebanon, from 2010 to 2015, Lebanon’s solar PV installed capacity increased by 149 percent from just 320 kWp (a measure of peak output) to 9.45 MWp, and it continues to grow.
The National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action is the green financing mechanism initiated by Banque du Liban to provide interest-free, long-term loans for energy efficient and renewable energy projects.
The loan, provided through commercial banks, has a ceiling of $20 million and is offered at an interest rate of 0.6 percent. The loan repayment period should not exceed 14 years and includes a grace period of six months to four years.
Khoury said that while the initial cost of end-use solar PV rooftop applications is high, at $10,000-$14,000 per household, if broken down and spread over the 14-year loan repayment period, it’s still less than the average monthly “illegal generator” bill.
The Daily Star