KUWAIT, May 24 (KUNA) -- Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Hind Al-Sabeeh launched Sunday an ambitious project to turn Kuwaiti cooperative societies to the use of solar power as part of a broader state drive to expand reliance on renewable energy.
"Such projects have extremely positive impacts on the society," the Minister said in a speech during the celebration of the first solar-powered retailer, namely Al-Zahra Cooperative Society.
She stated that renewable energy project would help reduce pollution and consumption of oil and gas to generate power by conventional means as well as save state money spent on fuel of the power stations.
Al-Sabeeh, also Minister of State for Planning and Development, announced that Adailyya Cooperative Society would be the second to turn to solar power in the coming period.
"The Ministry is studying a proposal to oblige all cooperative societies nationwide to use renewable energy," she said.
Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Bader Al-Essa, who attended the ceremony, echoed similar views.
The use of photovoltaic power (PV) systems in cooperative society would save money, energy and safeguard the environment, he said.
He also expressed hopes all retailers and cooperatives would turn to solar power and other clean renewable energy sources.
The project is implemented through cooperation among the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), the National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC), and the Minister of Electricity and Water.
"This project is one of the model projects embraced by KFAS to speed up the shift to solar power," KFAS Director General Adnan Shihab-Eldin said.
He noted that the project comes in implementation of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah's vision to increase reliance on renewable energy to cover up to 15 percent of Kuwait's consumption of power by 2030.
Shihab-Eldin unveiled that the project was carried out in two phases, the first for changing the lighting and air-conditioning systems and the second for installing photovoltaic panels on the roofs of the car parking areas outside the cooperative building.
He pointed out that the saved power equals that required for operating 26 houses for a whole year.
Shihab-Eldin suggested that project would save the country nearly 3,500 barrels of oil in a year or about KD 70,000 (USD 231,328).
For his part, KISR Director General Naji Al-Mutairi said that the state spent KD 1.6 billion (USD 5.2 billion) on generating power in 2013.
He disclosed that KISR is intensifying efforts to remarkably raise Kuwait's production of the eco-friendly renewable energy.
KISR has launched various renewable energy projects such as the 70 MW Shagaya complex which is divided into three parts: one for 10-MW Photovoltaic power (PV) plant, 10 MW-wind farm, and 50-MW thermal power plant, he said. Al-Mutairi said that the project would be completed by 2017.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Board of Al-Zahra Cooperative Society Saad Al-Otaibi expressed delight that Al-Zahra Cooperative became the first store to turn to solar power in Kuwait. (end)