MoRA looks into powering Melilas prayer hall with solar system

National 2 minutes, 4 seconds

BELAIT

THE Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) will evaluate the possibility of a solar powered system for the Melilas prayer hall, after the success of Sukang’s solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed five years ago.

The ministry’s head of building estate and maintenance senior special duties officer, Pg Alli Pg Hj Mohammad, told The Brunei Times recently as that both prayer halls are in remote areas located off the main power grid, they have to either rely on generators or renewable energy for electricity.

Pg Alli said that solar PV systems have become increasingly cost-effective in the past years, making their installations for off-grid areas more attractive.

“When the solar PV system was installed in Sukang in 2011, it was quite costly (compared to how much it costs now). If we do decide on setting up a solar system (for Melilas) it will incorporate newer technology, since what is on the market is now more advanced,” said Pg Alli.

He added that solar PV systems could be modified and improved once installed, making the provision of power supply for additional facilities, outside the initial plan, possible.

When Sukang’s prayer hall 10 kWp system was installed in 2011, it was set up to power 13 fluorescent light tubes, four to six sets of fans and a portable audio (PA) system.

“However after tracking the energy generated and noticing a surplus (to lights and fans) we installed two 1.5 horsepower air conditioning units,” said Pg Alli.

Although the air conditioners require more tinkering, as power has a tendency to trip when both are turned on, Pg Alli said they have been “very well received” by the community.

“Just like the lights and fan, we only turn on the air conditioners during daily prayers and other religious functions so that we can conserve what is generated,” said Pg Alli.

Sukang's solar PV system placed second in the renewable energy project: off-grid category at last year’s ASEAN Energy Awards.

It generates about 13,140 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year and is estimated to have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 18,400 kg.

MoRA collaborated with the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister's Office and the Brunei National Energy Research Institute for the project.

Mukim Melilas, located at the southernmost tip of the Belait district, is close to 80km inward from the Sg Liang traffic light intersection into Jalan Labi.

The final 20km leading to Melilas is completely off road, restricting access to 4x4 vehicles during periods of heavy rain.

The Brunei Times