Oman is currently consulting on the proposed expansion of its rooftop PV scheme called "Sahim", with the proposed commencement of the "Sahim II" phase of the initiative. We published a bulletin at the time the Sahim scheme was introduced.
The Sahim initiative was launched in May 2017 by the Oman Authority for Electricity Regulation ("AER"), and was structured in two phases:
- Sahim I allows large households and businesses to install small-scale grid connected PV systems at their own cost, and to receive an export tariff (the bulk supply tariff) for any excess electricity which is exported to the grid, under a feed-in-tariff-like scheme.
- Sahim II is aimed at promoting wider-scale deployment of small-scale grid connected PV systems for around 10% to 30% of residential premises in Oman (or around 250,000 rooftop installations which equates to roughly 1GW of solar capacity), by securing funding solutions. Namely, by running competitions for private developers to build, own and operate such PV systems at premises designated by AER, rather than the customers installing the systems at their own cost. AER intends to closely monitor successful developers in their procurement, installation and operation activities.
Under Sahim II, the costs of residential PV systems will not therefore be met by customers themselves, but by private sector solar developers who will recover their costs through contracts with licensed suppliers. In a document released by AER, it is stated that:
- licensed suppliers will enter into long term performance-based contracts with private PV installers to remunerate investment costs (capex, opex plus some return);
- participating customers will make contributions to participate in Sahim II based on expected savings on their electricity bills; and
- participating customers will have no ownership right over the PV systems, but will benefit from lower bills over the life of such systems.
AER is currently undergoing pre-development work prior to the launch of its Sahim II initiative, and is looking to evaluate available PV technologies to be utilised to achieve its requirements for the scheme. To that end, it has published questionnaires (for modules and inverters) to evaluate PV suppliers' products and whether they fulfil the operational requirements in Oman's environmental conditions. Links to the questionnaires and further background material can be found at AER's website.
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