Simple Solar Solutions for Hot Water: Will Jordan Seize the Opportunity?

Blogger Azul looks at the use of solar thermal energy for heating Jordanians’ water. Here’s an example of a solar heater on a roof in Jordan.

If you’ve been following Green Prophet, you’ve been enjoying the posts from our Environment Blogging Workshop in Madaba, Jordan. Jordanian blogger “Azul” talks about the simple solar solutions Jordanians can use today:

About seven months ago, I was invited to a reception at the Swedish ambassador’s residence in Amman. There, a Swedish journalist- who had spent some time in Israel and the West Bank- asked me a question that left me pondering and thinking about the energy crisis we have in Jordan for quit sometime.

She said: In Israel, almost everyone has solar heating systems on their roof, with which they conserve and ration their consumption of energy; why don’t Jordanians have those installed up on their roofs, as it would quite save them a lot financially an also preserve their environment?

I stood there idly and did not knowing how to answer her question, but thought to myself that it is very true, we have an amazing opportunity on our hands, an industry that would not only conserve energy and save the planet, but also create more jobs; green jobs and businesses that if utilized well, would lift people out of poverty, reduce unemployment and enhance our Gross Domestic Product.

I grew up in a family that did not place global warming and clean energy very high on its list of priorities, but has always considered water and energy as a grace of God that is worth preserving and rationing. My family has for long depended on fuel to heat up water during the summer as well as the winter. Last spring, I became adamant to convince my parents that the time has come to install solar heating system in our house!

I realized that combating climate change or cleaning the atmosphere argument would have a very little effect on my parents. Not that they did not care, I would say, but they were on the side of “well, we can’t save the planet alone, a solar cell on our roof, would not prevent a Tsunami,” so I knew that economics is where I should start: I would convince my parents that a solar heating system would save them a great deal of cash, particularly in the summer when the sun shines in abundance, and most of its radiation goes to waste. It was two weeks before my father got even more excited and installed solar lights in our garden!

Azul’s parents go one step more and install solar lights in the garden too.

Nine moths a year would Jordanians be able to enjoy hot water all day and night without paying any running fee beyond initial installation. Only if they took a courageous step towards reducing our energy dependence on foreign oil. Reviewing building codes in Jordan should be a national priority, and as a first step, the government should provide huge tax incentives for houses installing solar systems.

These efforts should extend to businesses and government buildings, moreover, quality assurance measures should be applied to manufacturers making those solar systems to ensure reliability and regain the trust of the Jordanian citizen, who unfortunately, has lost faith in locally made appliances, and still prefer to purchase products made in China, India, and even Sri Lanka!

Will we live long enough to see these efforts come to life? To see those panels erected on rooftops not only in Amman, but across Jordan – paving the way to more advancement in research and development to further enhance the efficiency and extend the use of solar energy to central heating systems, as well as power a new generation? This is a question I leave for the readers to ponder. Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Read more on our green workshop:
Multifaith Writers and Activists Unite in Jordan
Green Bloggers Page (with all updates)
Meet the green bloggers and activists from Jordan
Part I: Learn About Jordan
Instigating Environmental Awareness in Palestine

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