Three young, ambitious and enterprising Omanis have joined forces to explore and develop commercial opportunities in the Sultanate’s nascent renewable and alternative energy sector. ‘Nafath’, a wholly Omani company set up by buddies Abdullah al Saidi, Nasser al Jabri and Musab al Farsi, has developed an automatic dust cleaning system for photovoltaic panels. The innovative system affords a great deal of ease and convenience in the operation of PV panels and promises to lend solid impetus to the commercialisation of solar energy use in the Sultanate.
“The idea came to us during our final year at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) when we were working on our class project,” said Nasser al Jabri, Head of Software Development at Nafath. “We were blowing dust away from photovoltaic panel when it struck us that we could develop maintenance-free, clean energy solutions for Oman.”
Recognition of the start-up’s design solution first came at the Al Royal Economic Awards for small and medium enterprises when Nafath scooped the second prize for scientific inventions. The company has since affixed its maintenance-free device to solar panel systems installed at a number of schools and corporate establishments in Muscat.
Al Jabri is hopeful that the innovative device, coupled with the fact that the sun’s energy is abundant in the Sultanate, augurs well for the widespread uptake of PV panels as a source of renewable energy.
“Solar energy is the easiest resource that can be developed in the Sultanate because of its abundance. As an environmental friendly energy resource, its commercial exploitation will also drive economic development if we commit to investing in renewables,” the entrepreneur said. However, launching Nafath was not without its challenges, he lamented. “Securing financial support was a major hurdle. We launched our project as fresh graduates with no funding support. Nevertheless, we managed to convince a few individuals who believed in our project to support our venture,” said Al Jabri.
The project’s founders are now exploring avenues for taking Nafath to the next level. “We are looking to start manufacturing solar energy components here in Oman to cater to the growing demand for renewables. Hopefully, growing public acceptance and awareness of solar energy, and the importance of renewables in the face of the oil price crisis, will stimulate the growth of this market,” he added.