UN House in Armenia Uses Solar Power
The solar energy on each square meter in Armenia, according to an expert assessment, is equal to one barrel of oil. This huge solar energy potential in the country can be utilized by using the solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. As long as there is sun, the PV energy is inexhaustible and is the best renewable natural energy resource. However, the cost of PV panels is high, and Armenia is not yet rich enough to benefit from this natural gift.
UNDP has always been in the forefront of promoting green, low-emission and climate-resilient development, including the use of renewable natural energy resources. At the Country Office level in Armenia, UNDP since 2006 has set targets to “green the office” by reducing energy, water and paper consumption each by 30 percent through steps, which did not require massive financial investments.
Encouraged by the initial achievements and motivated by the need to reduce UN carbon footprint, UNDP Armenia initiated a greening initiative that will have a significant local impact by promoting practices aiming at reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Country Office decided to implement a solar PV project for electricity generation, through installation of grid connected 10 kWt solar panels on the roof of the UN House in Armenia.
On 24 October 2011, within the framework of the events marking the 66th anniversary of the establishment of the UN, the Country Office launched the solar PV project with the participation of high level government officials, representatives of diplomatic community in Armenia, civil society, the private sector and the media.
UNDP Armenia is advocating for low-carbon economy and fostering non-commercial renewable energy deployment and is leading by example setting up a model for national institutions and other organizations to replicate.
The solar panels project will serve as a powerful policy impact and “green” advertisement tool, which hopefully will contribute towards overcoming some of the legal and regulatory barriers to installing and using PV solar panels for commercial purposes.
The project was implemented in partnership with the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels – Suntech, which provided the necessary guidance and expertise throughout the process. The solar panels are connected to the grid and thus swap the generated but not used electricity, under net-metering concept. This means that the electricity generated is not sold, rather than used for the internal purposes, covering around 3.1 percent of energy consumed by the entire UN House and 8.4 percent of UNDP.