September 19, 2021 | oil and gas

Solar pilot project powers Erbil’s Mergasor village

MERGASOR, Kurdistan Region - A pilot project in northern Erbil province is using solar panels to power Mergasor village.

Begun four months ago, the project has 3,840 solar panels generating one megawatt of electricity, meeting 95 percent of demand, according to electrical engineer Jamal Abdulla.

The Kurdistan Region has the capacity to generate over 6,900 megawatts of electricity, though it often produces a fraction of that, leaving consumers dependent on private, diesel-fueled generators.

The majority of electricity is produced through burning fossil fuels and the government is working to boost its cleaner, renewable energy.

“Nine percent of our power is generated from water, which is environmentally friendly,” said electricity minister Kamal Mohammad. The plan is to double that, adding another 300 MW from hydropower as new projects come online, including the facility in Deralok that should be operational by the end of the year.

“So with this plan, we expect to reach 18 to 20 percent,” Mohammad said.

The cost of the Mergasor solar project is around $1.3 million. Project owner Sirwan Barzani acknowledged it is expensive, but said the goal is to “test it and gain confidence with it… and see how much money is saved using it. The most important point is that it protects the environment.”

Initial investment in solar is high, but once it is up and running, operating costs can be minimal.


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