Dubai is a pioneer in the development of renewable energy and is at the forefront of alternative energy, exploring and seeking new methods of enhancing efficiency, rationalising the consumption of natural resources and finding alternative solutions for conventional energy to achieve sustainable development in the Emirate.
Dubai encourages its citizens and residents to get involved and contribute towards generating clean energy to enhance Dubai’s position regionally and internationally, transforming the Emirate into a role model for the preservation of natural resources by integrating ground-breaking strategies and initiatives. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) encourages customers to produce clean energy, following the resolution number 46 of 2014 issued by the Dubai Executive Council to regulate electricity produced from photovoltaic panels to the power distribution system in Dubai. The resolution formed a comprehensive legislative framework to connect electricity produced from solar power to the distribution system. The resolution supports the Smart Dubai initiative launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world.
This will engage the community in the production of electricity from solar energy, diversify energy sources by increasing renewable energy targets, preserve the environment and lower the country’s carbon footprint, while also encouraging the development of a green economy to achieve sustainable development. Shams Dubai allows customers to install photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to generate electricity form solar power. The electricity is used onsite and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network.
DEWA’s work on clean and renewable energy
DEWA has a well-defined strategy and an ambitious vision, to support the development and establishment of sustainable energy projects in Dubai. DEWA has increased the targets for renewable energy to 7% of Dubai’s total power output by 2020 and 15% by 2030, to support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy. It aims to increase Dubai’s total power output from clean energy sources to 75% by 2050. The initiative also supports the long-term national Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to build a green economy in the UAE, in addition to the UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE among the best countries in the world by 2021. DEWA’s vision is to ensure the Emirate’s continuous growth and, at the same time, protect its natural resources and shape the future of energy in the region as a whole, to achieve sustainable development and promote the welfare of citizens, residents, and visitors, and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.
AED 65 billion in investments towards 2020
According to HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, DEWA will invest AED 65 billion in Dubai’s energy and water sector in the run up to 2020 to meet increasing demand. This will provide considerable investment opportunities, support the growth of a green economy and create a competitive advantage for the UAE in clean energy and energy-efficiency technologies. DEWA has also allocated over AED 2.6 billion to support electricity, water and renewable energy infrastructure projects, according to the highest international standards. This will contribute to organising the best World Expo in 2020, in Dubai. DEWA will focus on renewable energy sources to support Dubai Expo’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and its three sub themes of Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.
Two solar energy sources
The solar energy connected to DEWA’s grid is derived from two sources. The first is DEWA’s solar power plants at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, one of the largest single-site renewable energy projects in the world, the park is managed by DEWA in cooperation with the private sector. The solar park’s capacity will be 5,000 MW by 2030, and will help reduce 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions by 2030, supporting the green initiatives and programmes carried out by the government to reduce carbon emissions. The second is electricity produced from small and medium solar-energy systems. This is done by installing photovoltaic panels on rooftops of buildings and connecting them to DEWA’s grid as part of its Shams Dubai initiative, launched by DEWA.
The initiative allows customers to install photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to generate electricity from solar power. The electricity is used on-site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network. An offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset.
Photovoltaic systems use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconductors and are used to assemble photovoltaic modules, which are the components used in photovoltaic systems. A great advantage of photovoltaic systems is that they are fully-scalable and vary in size according to the local energy needs, so they can be used for residential, commercial, and industrial electricity supply. Photovoltaic systems components include solar panels, inverters, metering systems, and an interface protection system.
Making the most of being in the Sunbelt
“We support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to diversify Dubai’s energy mix to include 25% from solar energy, 7% from clean coal, and 7% from nuclear power, and 61% from natural gas by 2030. The mix will gradually increase the employment of clean energy sources to 75% by 2050,” said Al Tayer.
“The sun is the oldest energy source. Every hour, it beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. But photovoltaic technology began in the 1950s. Since then, it has advanced and the cost has reduced significantly, which makes solar power so attractive today, in addition to the fact that it is natural, clean, and inexhaustible. God has granted us in the UAE a region that is sunny every day. That’s why, taking advantage of this is a strategic necessity,” added Al Tayer.
Solar energy systems: easy to install
DEWA has outlined easy steps to install photovoltaic systems in buildings to generate solar power as part of the Shams Dubai initiative. The installation process starts with the customer contacting one of the consultants or contractors accredited by DEWA to study the possibility of installing the solar power system and suggest the best solution. The consultant or contractor then obtains the necessary approvals from DEWA. After obtaining the necessary approvals, the consultant or contractor undertakes on-site work. After completing installation, they submit a notification to DEWA to conduct the technical inspection of the site and install the meter to complete the connection process.
While installing a photovoltaic system requires an initial investment, the in-house production of power reduces electricity bills in the building throughout the life cycle of the photovoltaic system, which is 25 years, at least, for a properly-maintained system. Installing a photovoltaic system also increases the value of a property as the new owner enjoys discounted electricity bills as a result of the production of electricity via the building’s solar power system. Installing these systems to locally generate renewable energy, supports Dubai’s economy, and ensures a sustainable future for the Emirate. Each kilowatt of solar energy produced in Dubai contributes to reducing the Emirate’s electricity needs, thus reducing the carbon footprint of individuals and the Emirate as a whole.
Requirements for enrolment as a solar photovoltaic consultant or contractor
DEWA enrols consultants and contractors to ensure solar power is properly installed. DEWA enrolled 33 consultants and contractors so far. The company must have a valid trade licence issued by the Department of Economic Development, with at least one graduate electrical engineer under their sponsorship with at least one year’s experience in supervising electrical works, and all designs must comply with DEWA’s regulations for electrical installations. The company’s employees should also pass the photovoltaic systems expert programme, and submit applications via DEWA’s website. Companies must also have employees who are certified by DEWA as solar photovoltaic experts. Companies can register and submit applications through DEWA’s website.
DEWA has recently-organised a list of courses to train electrical and solar photovoltaic consultants and contractors. A total of 143 engineers and technicians have enrolled as electrical and solar photovoltaic consultants and contractors. The courses include academic and practical training, covering all technical aspects of installing photovoltaic panels, and safety procedures.
DEWA’s enrolment scheme ensures that systems connected to DEWA’s grid have been designed and installed by skilled and experienced professionals, to guarantee high levels of safety, security, and compliance with required technical standards. It also ensures that only solar photovoltaic qualified professionals work on solar panels, to ensure the protection and safety of the public and DEWA’s grid. Certification as a solar photovoltaic expert by DEWA requires attending a training programme and passing a test.
Eligible photovoltaic equipment
DEWA continues to register contractors and consultants and provides specialised training courses to engineers and technicians who are employed by photovoltaic panel companies. They learn technical requirements, safety requirements, and DEWA’s guidelines for installing photovoltaic panels on rooftops to generate electricity and connect it with DEWA’s grid.
Customers who are interested in installing solar photovoltaic systems can learn about the details of the initiative and the list of consultants and contractors accredited by DEWA to install solar power systems by viewing DEWA’s website, which has information about the training courses, registration requirements, and a list of consultants and contractors registered to install photovoltaic panels. DEWA has invited manufacturers of solar power equipment and tools to register their products as eligible for DEWA. Eligibility criteria are described in the standards for the Distributed Renewable Resources Generation (DRRG) programme for connection to DEWA’s power grid, which sets out the requirements for solar photovoltaic modules, inverters, and interface protection systems. DEWA will continuously review and update the standards to keep requirements updated on the latest available standards. The website allows DEWA to register consultants and contractors to ensure photovoltaic systems are installed according to the highest international quality standards. To date, the website has received over 55,000 visits since its launch.
To ensure that the Shams Dubai initiative is a success, DEWA is working with its partners organisations to install the photovoltaic panels. The initiative is part of a wider environmental approach, which falls in line with the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. DEWA announced the first project under the Shams Dubai initiative, in collaboration with Dubai Airports, to supply Dubai World Central—Al Maktoum International Airport with solar energy. The move increases the use of alternative energy sources and reduces the airport’s carbon footprint, in addition to exporting excess energy back into the national power grid. This reflects the commitment of DEWA and Dubai Airport to make better use of alternative energy and reduce the emirate’s reliance on fossil fuels. Using 102 solar panels, the project explored the benefits of solar energy to generate electricity. The electricity generated from the panels will facilitate DEWA’s Employee Gate facility. The panels were installed on the rooftop of the facility with a capacity of 30 kilowatts (kW).
Installation of solar photovoltaic panels at the Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre
In collaboration with Emirates Airline, DEWA has successfully installed solar photovoltaic panels at the Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre in Dubai. The new project in Warsan will generate 1 megawatt (MW), saving around 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The project will increase the use of alternative energy and reduce carbon emissions. The newly-installed system includes 2,990 photovoltaic panels and will use solar power to generate electricity and meet the needs of the centre.
The panels were installed on the rooftop of the Emirates Engine Maintenance Centre’s car park. Based on its capacity of 1MW, the panels are expected to generate in excess of 1,884 MW of electricity every year.
Competitiveness and Excellence
Al Tayer emphasises the continuity of work based on best international standards, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that a smart city is a city that makes people happy, makes their lives easier, and improves living standards. It is efficient in using its resources, and provides seamless and integrated services.
“At DEWA, we work to achieve this vision, which supports the Dubai Plan 2021, to make Dubai the preferred place to live, work, and visit. 2016 will witness the continuation of our efforts to enhance cooperation with other government organisations, strategic partners, and stakeholders to further develop the Shams Dubai initiative and achieve the expectations of citizens and residents, providing a brighter and happier future for Dubai,” concluded Al Tayer.