Buildings that produce their own energy: FOSTEr in MED launches innovative solar pilot in Lebanon
Lebanon is ranked 23rd in the world list of the 25 most dependent countries on fossil fuels for energy production. According to World Bank data, Lebanon imports 97% of the energy it needs.
The massive consumption of gas, oil and coal is bad for the economy due to fluctuant stock prices, and for the environment, with the emission of around of 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
As Lebanon is blessed with sun all year long, the potential for solar energy development is huge. In this context, the FOSTEr in MED project aims to contribute to the diversification of energy sources to include more renewable means.
Demonstrating the way for a change
FOSTEr in Med focuses on distributed generation, meaning that energy is produced at the point of consumption. The project uses building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV), which consists in the integration of solar modules in buildings as architectural elements (such as a roof, a façade, a shading element, a parapet).
"BIPV is still little used in the Mediterranean countries, probably because there is a lack of awareness of its technological and economic advantages," says Nicola Nieddu, FOSTEr in MED coordinator.
In order to demonstrate the potential of BIPV in clean energy production, a pilot project was implemented at the Industrial Research Institute, located in Beirut. "The façade and canopy were covered with PV panels, which also act as shading devices to reduce the cooling load during summer," explains Elias Kinab, technical expert. Overall, it is estimated that the BIPV system installed will deliver 30 kWp, significantly contributing to the energy needs of the building of the Industrial Research Institute.
But the sun does only shine in Lebanon. Other buildings in the Mediterranean area will host innovative solar photovoltaic plants, in view of testing different technological solutions and architectural integration: Balqa College in Aqaba (Jordan), the Chamber of Commerce in Alexandria (Egypt), the Centre National de Formation de Formateurs et d’Ingénierie de Formation (CENAFFIF) in Tunis (Tunisia) and the Regional Agency for Housing (AREA) in Cagliari (Italy).
As 2015 smashed record for hottest year ever, the shift towards a low-carbon economy is urgent and has to be supported by an increasing use of renewable energy. The 8 partners of FOSTEr in MED are ready to address this challenge hoping to build a bright future for solar energy in the Mediterranean.
The FOSTEr in MED is funded by the EU under the ENPI CBC Med Programme for an amount of € 4 million. It gathers partners from Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia.
FOSTEr in MED
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