First Solar Power Plant Launched at the AUB Campus
On the 11th of July 2016, AUB launched its first solar power plant that aims to cut down on costs and provide the safest energy source for our environment. Indeed, solar energy offers the best solution for the climate change problem.
The ceremony was launched and attended by AUB’s President Fadlo Khuri, Minister of Agriculture and Chair of Environment Parliamentary Committee Akram Chehayeb, and representatives from the Delegation of the EU in Lebanon and the Ministry of Energy and Water. In addition, the UNDP, several NGOs, senior AUB administration, faculty, staff, and students attended the conference.
A team from AUB’s Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, led by Assistant to the Dean for Laboratories and Facilities Mohamad Khaled Joujou, assisted UNDP CEDRO in the implementation of this project.
After the COP21 climate conference in Paris last year, AUB decided it was necessary to achieve the goal of having 12% of Lebanon’s electricity generated from renewable resources by 2020.
By accomplishing this goal, AUB plans to save about $500,000 per year and reduce the release of C02 emissions by 1,500 tons. More importantly, the efforts of AUB to introduce this system have helped make solar energy a more desirable option for Lebanon.
AUB’s installation of these solar panels is the biggest in any academic institution in Lebanon. The timing of this inauguration coincided with the 150th anniversary of AUB, with the goal of helping Lebanon with its power shortages.
“This is the first photovoltaic power plant in AUB and until now it is the largest project of its kind in an academic institution in Lebanon,” said Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Farid Chaaban.
In order to support energy conservation, the faculty of engineering at AUB has been working on remodeling its buildings. “For almost two decades now, concepts relating to energy sustainability have been integrated in our curriculum at FEA, and the number of relevant courses and programs has been on the rise,” stated Makram Suidan, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.
The solar panels were placed on the roofs of the Bechtel Building and the CCC Scientific Research Building on the University campus. This was the first solar power plant in AUB and it took about 8 months to install the 475 panels, with 288 panels on the Bechtel rooftop and 186 panels on the SRB rooftop. These panels convert sunlight into electricity through photovoltaic modules.
The UNDP and the EU, along with a local NGO called MONEERA contributed to the implementation of this project. The European Union has funded 85% of the costs of this project at AUB through the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument Cross Border Cooperation in the Mediterranean (ENPI EBC), through a project known as MEDSOLAR.
The remaining 15% of total costs of the project were contributed by MOONERA. As for UNDP, it is the local implementing partner for Lebanon through its EU funded CEDRO project. The CEDRO project has undertaken the design, procurement, and full implementation of this project.
According to Mr. Marcelo Mori, EU Minister Counsellor, “This event is also a good opportunity to envisage potential collaborations in the future with Lebanese universities and educational centers”.