DEWA developing clean solar energy programme to drive Dubai growth

Integrated programme will allow a tenth of citizens’ homes to be self-sufficient in terms of water, food and energy

Dubai is developing an integrated programme to build a comprehensive system that will allow a tenth of its citizens’ homes to be self-sufficient in terms of water, food and energy, mainly with the help of clean solar projects, says Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, the Vice Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).

In a statement, Al Tayer said that this will help create a new economic sector for Dubai, with a pioneering project to install solar panels in citizens’ homes contributing to enhancing their happiness. It will be implemented under the Shams Dubai initiative.

“The achievement of this goal will help change lifestyles and contribute to the preservation of our environment. We aim to create a new economic sector that supports energy, water, and food self-sufficiency,” he said.

Shams Dubai encourages building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels to produce clean energy and connect them to Dewa’s grid. Shams Dubai has been successful, with 1,328 buildings connected to the grid by July-end with a total capacity of 102.1 MW, he noted.

Dewa launched Shams Dubai to support the Smart Dubai initiative to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world, Al Tayer added. He also pointed out that there has been a global boom in the manufacture and usage of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in recent times.

“Research and development centres are racing to find sustainable solutions to improve the efficiency of these panels and prolong their life by storing solar energy in batteries, using solar panel-cleaning robots and sun-tracking systems to maximise the productivity of PV.

“This past decade has truly been the era of PV, with people and businesses around the world producing and manufacturing more panels, as we regularly witness and learn about new inventions and innovations that these companies are offering to the end-users. Manufacturing and application of PV is also creating many new jobs,” stated Al Tayer.

“Very soon, we will use PV in additional areas including in the infrastructure we use every day, as well as in our home and office windows, to convert solar energy into electricity. Our buildings will soon become self-sufficient to produce clean energy while preserving the environment,” he added.

Al Tayer pointed out that several government entities and companies had proven their leadership in this field regionally and globally, and DEWA was the first to adopt the usage of clean energy technologies in the UAE.

“The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is the world’s largest single-site project to generate renewable energy. It will have a capacity of 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030 with investments of $13.6 billion,” he noted.

“It is based on the independent power producer (IPP) model. This model contributed to world record prices for solar energy projects, he added.

According to a study published by Japan’s Nikkei Asian Review, the UAE’s interest in renewable energy production has contributed to its global cost reduction. Through its projects, the solar park will accelerate the shift towards adopting and using solar energy.

“At Dewa, we are committed to completing the phases of the solar park according to the highest international standards and using the latest solar power technologies,” said Al Tayer.

“The 13MW PV first phase became operational in 2013. The 200MW PV second phase became operational in March 2017. The 800MW PV third phase will be operational by 2020. The fourth phase of the solar park is the largest single-site Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in the world based on the IPP model, at a total investment of Dh15.78 billion,” he noted.

The 950MW fourth phase will use a combination of: 600MW CSP from a parabolic basin complex, 100MW CSP from a solar tower, and 250MW from PV panels.

The project will feature the tallest solar tower in the world, 260-m-tall, and the largest thermal storage capacity of 15 hours; generating power around the clock.

“Our continuous efforts will transform Dubai into a global hub for clean energy and green economy, with the lowest carbon footprint in the world; and establish sustainability as a roadmap for a brighter and happier future for Dubai,” he added.

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