Saving money one sunbeam at a time

ABC embraces solar energy to cut down its electricity bill

Greg Demarque | Executive

The problem could not have been more standard: how can ABC’s department store in Ashrafieh reduce overhead to maximize profits? In 2012, the company began doing some research on electricity consumption with an energy audit. A solution soon followed: use that glowing orb which gives us life. In June, the department store went solar – partly.

Mohammad Abou Rich, the mall’s technical director, told Executive that a system consisting of 4,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels on the mall’s roof will supply 21 percent of the department store’s yearly energy needs, saving ABC $100,000 per year in dual energy bills. While the amount paid to design and build the system is “confidential,” Abou Rich explains that because of the way the panel layout was designed – with the sun-suckers oriented east-west instead of north-south, as many of the other contractors who bid for the project proposed – the investment will be recouped in only five years because of the extra power supplied. Panel orientation east-west (in line with the path of the moving sun, for the astrophysically challenged) means the system produces “10 to 15 percent” more electricity than a north-south orientation, he says.

Matt Nash

Matt is Executive's Economics & Policy Editor. He has been reporting on Lebanon since 2007 with a focus on oil and gas, policy and legal matters.

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