Solar vision of Dubai

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What could possible have PV panels, Solar farm and Solar Street Lights in common with a high-income and one of the world oil richest city?

The location of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai within the Sunbelt highlights solar energy’s major role as a renewable source of energy. In Dubai, available global irradiation usable by photovoltaic (PV) technology averages 2,150 kWh/m2/y (kilowatt hours per square metres per year). This figure means UAE is ideally located for solar energy.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai has called for solar panels to be installed on every roof in Dubai by 2030, as part of the Emirates vision to produce 75% of its energy from clean sources by 2050. To get there in time, the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 also calls for interim targets of 7% of solar power by 2020, and 25% by 2030.

As one of the first steps to facilitate this goal, the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) created the Shams Dubai solar program in early 2015. This program encourages households and building owners to install PV panels to generate electricity and connect them to DEWA’s grid to allow transfer of surplus generation (at the retail rate). Shams Dubai is enabled by a strong regulatory framework from DEWA and active private sector participation.

Solar panels can be installed on the roof, parking shades or on the ground, depending on available space and orientation. The best locations are clear, unobstructed roofs, parking or other areas facing south, with no shading. Should a customer produce more energy in one month than he/she has consumed, DEWA allows rolling over these kWhs to the next month.

DEWA even launched the ‘Shams Dubai Calculator’ web application to help customers easily decide on the installation of PV panels.

Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA : „We recognise the importance of renewable and sustainable energy in preserving the environment, and to achieve sustainability of our natural resources, thus ensuring a better future for generations to come. Therefore we launched the Shams Dubai initiative as part of our efforts with aims to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city in the world. I congratulate everyone at DEWA on the achievements of the Shams Dubai initiative. This would not have been possible without your continuous efforts, and your understanding of the importance of solar energy, which we are blessed with throughout the year.

Solar energy is a renewable form of energy that is clean, safe, unlimited and does not cause carbon emissions, and is therefore sustainable for our environment. It also reduces our dependence on conventional energy such as gas, oil and coal.“

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum: „Every dirham invested in the development of clean energy sources is a dirham invested simultaneously into protecting the environment for generations to come”.

In addition to Shams Dubai, DEWA also launched the Green Charger initiative to establish the infrastructure and charging stations for electric vehicles to encourage their use. So far, DEWA has installed 100 charging stations across the Emirate.

On a large-scale level, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was announced in 2012. Upon completion in 2030, this Solar Park would become the largest renewable-energy project on a single plot in the world with a planned production capacity of 5000 MW. Dubai’s leaders strongly support the Initiative in order to transform the City into a global hub for green economy and clean energy, with a goal of becoming the lowest carbon footprint city in the world by 2050. Beside business events, like Dubai Solar Show and WETEX (Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition), academia events are numerous and with innovative Topic approach.

Some are listed here:

Solar Decathlon Middle East

Universities from around the world take part in the programme that challenges teams to design, build, and operate energy-efficient houses/bulidings/facilities.

Shams Dubai Solar RollersParticipating high school teams design, build and race custom solar-powered radio-controlled cars. Each racecar is a complete, sophisticated photovoltaic (PV) clean energy system. The team that makes the most of the solar energy available on raceday is declared the winner.

Dubai Solar Schools initiative

The main aim is to involve the Dubai education sector, with 100 schools and universities (comprising 200,000 students), to become Solar, till 2020. Participating institution requires zero capital of investment as certified companies (a third party) offer them an attractive “solar lease formula”. This lease formula will see the third party investor charge the education facility a monthly lease fee, which is about 10 per cent lower of the school’s existing DEWA bill.

The first 10 participating schools:

1. The School of Research Science 2. Deira International School

3. The Winchester School 4. University of Modern Sciences

5. Star International School 6. Al Dar University College

7. Al Ittihad Private School Jumeirah 8. The Oxford School

9. The Apple International School 10. The Indian Academy

Several reactions from educators:

H. David Shaw (Exec. Dir., American University in the Emirates)

“Dubai Solar Schools is definitely something we can invest in. We recently visited Education City in Qatar and 90 per cent of its electricity is generated through solar and wind energy – about 70 per cent of which is gained through solar power. It is a great investment. For this initiative though, I think they need to work on the curriculum end a bit more. As in how the investment can be beneficial to the students, how they can be more involved, etc.”

Monica Valrani, (CEO, Ladybird Nursery Dubai)

“I think this is a great initiative. Moving forward, this is the direction the world is going in. We have just received out LEED Gold Certification which is very difficult to achieve. An initial investment of around 680.000 $ for solar panels does not surprise me because the return on investment is huge after several years – and it’s an investment in the environment too. At Ladybird Nursery we already use solar water heaters. 25 per cent of our construction materials is recycled content and we have light sensors too among other things.”

The use of PV panels to produce energy is growing around the world. Following the success of large utility scale projects, Solar PV has permeated into models for individual homes, residential and commercial buildings to generate electricity from solar panels.

For all reasons stated above and many more, we at EnGoPlanet are receiving more and more inquiries about Solar Street Light Poles and Solar benches from Dubai. Our aim is to accomplish all projects so our clients and community in general would be more than happy to refer us as a reliable, flexible and cost-efficient company.

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