I wanted to point to a recent piece of local news where the government is expected to remove both the 16% sales tax and customs duty on renewable energy devices like solar panels and windmills. It was interesting because a few days ago I was in a meeting where Ahmad Humeid noted the high prices on these devices and mentioned the necessity for this very measure to take place. The move will see a significant drop in prices for such devices and I think, for once, this is an excellent and long over-due move by the government. There may be hope for our environmental and energy future yet.
I still think solar panels should be a mandatory part of getting a building permit, especially with regards to the large development projects like Al-Abdali and the neo-suburbs that include the likes of Greenland. Based on experts in the industry whom I’ve asked over the months, it seems like everyone is simply waiting for big businesses to realize that cost-cutting mechanisms in the short term, associated with construction, will only add up without energy-saving systems taken in to consideration. Environmentally- and energy-friendly devices will cut costs in the long run, and they should even be considered a part of a company’s corporate social responsibility program. That being said, this requires leadership from high atop, preferably in the form of new regulations that stipulate so, such as the aforementioned building permit.
There are lessons to be learned from the UAE in this matter. Ironically, the first conference that addresses this very topic is to be held in Amman towards the end of this month, entitled Think Green and it will look to bring together leaders of the environment, real-estate development field under one roof.
Also, Emad of Amman Voice – one of my favorite Jordanian blogs lately – wrote an interesting post on the topic that’s worth reading as well.