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Solar technology for Jordan and Lebanon

Energy supply is a significant challenge for Jordan and Lebanon due to their lack of indigenous energy resources. An EU-funded initiative has helped the two countries develop their own solar technologies through capacity building at national research institutes.

The 'Research elevation on integration of solar technologies into Mediterranean buildings' (RESSOL-MEDBUILD) project enhanced the research capacity and human resources of two research institutes in the Middle East. They were the National Energy Research Centre (NERC) of Jordan and the Lebanese Association for Energy Saving and for Environment (ALMEE).

Capacity building was based on the efforts of two established research organisations, namely the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) in Greece and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany. Scientific knowledge of NERC and ALMEE on photovoltaics and solar thermal systems was improved through joint research secondments and training, the recruitment of talented researchers, lab equipment purchase and the building of creative partnerships with research centers, universities and the private sector in EU and MED countries. The Renewable Energy Laboratory (REL) in Lebanese Engineering School was also established. In addition, the Renewable Energy Master Programme, as a common program between the Lebanese University & Saint Joseph University of Lebanon was established.

Project partners identified research priorities and developed an exploitation plan, which included a market analysis for solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) technologies in Jordan and Lebanon. In addition, the necessary actions were identified for penetrating the market, commercialising research results and providing services to target groups. The work conducted will enable NERC and ALMEE to conduct high-quality research and to provide scientific services in the fields of solar thermal, PV technologies, energy modelling and planning.

The consortium also organised two conferences, the first being the International Conference on Renewable Energies for Developing Countries (REDEC 2012). The second was the International Conference on Solar energy for MENA region (INCOSOL)) which addressed the most important issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with regard to solar thermal energy and PV. In addition, the consortium organised seven national workshops in Jordan and Lebanon.

RESSOL-MEDBUILD efforts have enabled both countries to conduct high-level research in solar technology towards exploiting their vast solar energy potential, thereby providing a renewable source for generating their power needs. The project's results were disseminated at the EU, Mediterranean, national and international levels.

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