“It is extremely important to give power 24/7 to citizens: It is like giving new wings to a bird whose wings were broken”, says Nabil Aouad, Senior Consultant at ME Green
The “Net Zero in 12 months campaign” is a sustainability project created by Xplora in collaboration with Collectia and United Cities, in which many parties have participated, such as ME Green, the company leading the construction of the new solar park in Bchaaleh, and key to make the project a success and finally provide 24/7 power to citizens. The project, which was expected to be finished by mid December, has now been confirmed that it is likely to take longer and will not be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2023. Although, United Cities has confirmed that even if there is a delay with the pilot project, the process of preparing the extension of the concept to the next 4 municipalities will start in parallel.
As ME Green is in charge of leading the construction of the solar park and thus put the finishing touches to the project, we interviewed Nabil Aouad a few weeks ago, Senior Consultant at ME Green, to learn more about the project from their technical side, the progress of the project at the time, its complexity, and thoughts about the "Net Zero in 12 months" campaign that took place in the Goplay platform, the star platform of Xplora which advocates to motivate children to play to move and change the world.
We know there are about 1300 solar panels that will be mounted in this solar park. How many weeks do you expect it takes to complete the installation?
There are 1200 panels to be installed, but the land available is in a slope and had to be terrassed and flattened, so this has taken a lot of time (almost a month). After that the structures to accommodate over 550 panels will be installed to have the panels fixed to them. Currently we are at 10pct progress on all the projects and we intend to finish by mid December 2022.
How many people will be employed for the solar park installation?
Approximately 30 people between the soil leveling, the fence installer, the structure installation and the panels installation.
How is the installation going? Have there been any difficulties in developing the project?
Very well. Rain started delaying the work.
Can you say something about how the supply of power will change after completing the solar park for the people in and around Bchaaleh?
Clean air, noiseless, and no pollution or diesel smells with every loading of the generator.
Tell us more about the new solar park: How effective will it be to have a new solar park in Bchaaleh, Lebanon? How will the citizens of Bchaaleh notice it the most?
First is 24/7 power, for some 20 to 30 pct less cost per KWh. If this is not noticeable, what is?
Apart from getting access to electricity on a consistent basis, what other benefits are gained from the construction of the solar park?
Clean air and noiseless, and the proud feeling of going green on the path of Net Zero, satisfying Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) .
What are your thoughts on knowing that the project is coming together because United Cities connects partners like ME Green, Xplora, Collectia and other partners in a joint effort to not only provide electricity to Bchaaleh, but also address important sustainable changes?
The idea emanated from the need, United Cities mirrored the funding through a loan to the village, in order not to delay the start as the funds were slow to come, ME Green proceeded with the works in order not to lose momentum on the project expecting the amounts from United Cities to reach us before december 2022.
This is the largest sustainability project for Xplora has supported so far, and the partner Collectia has also stepped up and played an important role in the Net Zero campaign. In ME Green´s opinion, how important is it to have companies and technology providers engaged in future projects United Cities engages in, and why?
It is extremely important to give power 24/7 to citizens: It is like giving new wings to a bird whose wings were broken.
Where should more projects like this one be built, and why?
There are 100 across Lebanon to make it happen by 2030, but 6 are pilot cities, and 2 are started already.
What would you say to those individuals who want to help make the planet more sustainable and do not know how to start?
We say thank you, and we need your support to accelerate receiving funds.
What message would you give to companies that are thinking of getting involved in projects like the “Net Zero in 12 months” campaign?
We will ultimately comply, so the sooner the cleaner, the better.
And last but not least: Why is it so necessary to invest in renewable energy?
When you invest in earth it gives it back to you… cheaper, cleaner, and a better future for what we leave as heritage to our children.