Interview with Dr Elias Kinab and Dr Talal Salem
February 11, 2019
On February 13, Dr Elias Kinab and Dr Talal Salem will be conducting training on Photovoltaic: How to reduce your electricity bill by 50%. We sat down with them to get to know them better and discover the complex world of Photovoltaic with their guidance.
Dr Elias Kinab is an associate professor at the Lebanese University. He is a consultant and researcher in the fields of solar energy, renewable energies, energy efficiency, heat pumps, and green buildings.
Dr Talal Salem is Associate Professor and chairperson of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. His research interests include sustainable building materials, integration of renewable energy in building design, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality.
Question 1: How did you get interested in renewable energy?
Elias: It started when I did my PhD in heat pumps optimisation which is a renewable energy system: the thermodynamic cycle for air conditioning. This was my Real first experience in renewable energy. Later on, I had an interest in solar energy in my work as a consultant for foster in med project which was about fostering solar technology in Mediterranean countries. I’m also a Member and professor at the renewable energy master between the Lebanese university’s faculty of engineering and the USJ ESIB.
Talal: During my Graduate studies, I got introduced to the benefits of renewable energy in the building sector, through courses and in research projects, especially dealing with the integration of solar components in the building’s envelope.
Question 2: What do you need in order to get started with photovoltaics?
Elias: Anyone in Lebanon or abroad can have PV to produce electricity to his facility, premises, space. You only need available space on the roof and you need to be able to afford them. Their cost can also be covered by banks with low-interest rates.
Talal: In order to be able to design a PV system, you need to have an engineering background (Electrical, Mechanical, and Civil Engineering). For the installation of the system, you need to be technically qualified to work with electrical equipment.
Question 3: How much time does it take before your electric bill is reduced?
Elias: As soon as you have the PV panels working, the consumption will be reduced immediately. Once the system is working you will reduce your kilowatt hour and reduce your diesel consumption.
Talal: The electricity bill will be reduced immediately once the PV system is operational. However, the amount of savings depends on the type of installation, the location, occupancy, and the percentage of installed PV.
Question 4: With 300 days of sunshine in Lebanon, why aren’t photovoltaics more widely adopted yet?
Elias: The cost of technology has decreased a lot, it is now considered affordable.
The issue is that lack awareness of renewable energy and its importance. In Lebanon, they have widely adopted the solar thermal for domestic hot water but the PV technology is new and it’s more complicated. In addition, we need to have more incentives from the municipalities to get more awareness on the PV technology.
Talal: There are several constraints preventing wider adoption of PV systems: technical and economical. Technically, the poor electricity infrastructure and the blackouts are a major obstacle to the dissipation. Economically, even though there are some incentives, people are still reluctant to spending a significant amount of money to install a system that they are still not familiar with.
Buy your ticket to the upcoming PV workshop on Ihjoz