AMMAN — The University of Jordan (UJ) will implement a solar cells project within the coming weeks expected to save it JD8 to 10 million in annual electricity bill expenses, a university official said on Sunday.
The UJ’s Students’ Union welcomed the project and voiced hope to see the saved money invested in enhancing the university’s infrastructure.
Musa Abdallah, UJ’s solar energy project manager said that the university’s power demand is around 16 megawatt (MW), and the project will be implemented on campus over three zones, two of which will cover the buildings’ rooftops over two geographical areas with a capacity of 6 MW each, while the third zone will be erected at the parking lots with a capacity of 4 MW, comprising the 16 MW total demand.
“The photovoltaic (PV) solar arrays project will cost in excess of JD15 million, but the return of investment will be less than two and a half years,” Abdallah, who is also an associate professor at the School of Engineering, told The Jordan Times over the phone.
“The University of Jordan is the first one in the Kingdom to establish a PV project of this size over the buildings’ rooftops,” he said.
Malek Al Nobani, the Students’ Union secretary-treasurer said that the project is a priority now more than ever in order to help reduce the university’s financial deficit.
“There was a consensus among the union members when we met with the university president that the infrastructure needs improvement, especially in the older colleges which require lots of maintenance work,” Nobani told The Jordan Times.
Bushra Al Saob, a third-year student and a union member echoed similar remarks.
“Our main priority is renovating the old colleges and enhancing their facilities,” she stressed, lamenting over the building of the Faculty of Languages which she said has nearly 14,000 students, yet lacks sufficient rooms and labs.
“We hope that the project is implemented as planned so as to save costs just like the Hashemite University, which does not pay electricity bills now after their solar system project,” Saob said.
Haya Al Hourani, director of the Media and Public Relations Department at UJ stressed that the university “does not save any effort or money” to enhance the university’s infrastructure and improve its facilities.
“Any extra money will be invested in improving the university’s facilities and advancing its equipment and labs,” Hourani told The Jordan Times, adding that they are also planning to make the university more accessible for students with disabilities.
Abdallah expressed the university’s intention to move forward towards a green and a more energy-efficient university through conducting further studies and projects in this regard.
He cited the replacement of conventional lamps with LED lamps and the installation of motion detectors and class room presence sensors that turn lights off automatically whenever rooms are empty.
However, the main target is to implement complete integrated building management systems that will be used as a measurment for energy saving, monitoring and control, the professor added.