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Oman to Encourage Household Generation of Solar Power

FILE - A Palestinian worker installs solar panels atop the roof of a medical center in Gaza City, March 1, 2016.

Oman will encourage households to generate electricity with solar panels and feed it into the national grid, Qais al-Zakwani, executive director of the Authority for Electricity Regulation, said Monday.

The policy could put Oman in the forefront of Middle East nations promoting widespread use of solar power. Its finances severely damaged by low oil prices, the Omani government is seeking ways to save money, including a cut in electricity subsidies for commercial and industrial users.

Zakwani told Reuters the authority aimed to have a mechanism in place by mid-year for households to generate power using solar roofing panels, and provide the power to the grid in exchange for cuts in their electricity tariffs.

Zakwani said the new program would initially focus on residential units but eventually be extended to commercial entities; "we seek distributed power generation." He said it was too early to estimate the financial size of the program.