DEWA’s Shams Dubai initiative hailed as a role model in the region to transform energy users to energy producers
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) continues its efforts to raise awareness among customers about its Shams Dubai smart initiative to encourage building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity form solar power. The electricity is used on-site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s grid. An offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset. Shams Dubai supports the Smart Dubai initiative put forth 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.
“DEWA not only provides electricity and water services to its customers with the highest levels of efficiency, reliability and excellence, but places considerable attention to environmental sustainability and diversification of the energy mix to include renewable and clean energy. DEWA’s efforts in this field supports the long-term national Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to establish the UAE as a world leader in green economy and a centre for the export and re-export of green products and technologies. They also support the UAE Vision 2021, to make the UAE one of the leading countries in green economy, protect the environment and ensure a sustainable economic growth in the long term. DEWA’s initiatives support the Dubai Plan 2021 for Dubai to be a smart, integrated, and connected city that sustainably manages its resources and has a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. DEWA’s efforts also support the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy, to provide 75% of the Emirate’s energy from clean sources by 2050,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.
DEWA has outlined easy steps to install photovoltaic systems and connect it to its grid. 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. These include an NOC for installing solar energy system and connecting it to the power network, and approval for the solar system design that meets all the requirements. After completing installation, the consultant or contractor submits a notification to DEWA to conduct the technical inspection of the site and install the meter to complete the connection process.
To regulate electricity produced from PV panels to the power distribution system in Dubai, the Dubai Executive Council issued resolution number 46 for 2014 to put in place a comprehensive framework at a legislative level to connect electricity produced from solar power to the distribution system. So far, DEWA has received 27 applications to install PV systems in commercial and residential buildings, with a total capacity of 12MW. Many government organisations and schools in Dubai have expressed their intentions to install PV panels on their buildings to produce solar energy.
To insure that PV systems are installed according to the highest international quality standards, DEWA trains consultants and contractors and then register them as enrolled consultants or contractors. DEWA’s enrolment scheme ensures that systems connected to DEWA’s grid are designed and installed according to the highest international standards to ensure the protection and safety of the public and DEWA’s grid.
Contractors praise DEWA’s procedures
“We have received a large number of enquiries for residential homes, farms and villas. Though the majority of the projects are still under construction, the number of enquiries are growing on a daily basis. Residential enquiries are in between 5 kWp and 20 kWp while commercial enquiries are between 200 and 500 kWp,” said Moataz El Wardani CEO & Founder of Shams Energy Solutions, an enrolled contractors to install PV systems.
“For commercial rooftops, investors in the solar technology are looking for a quicker return on their investment between 7-9 years depending on the size of the system. Businesses are very keen to lower their expenses on utility consumption and contribute to the environment. We have a number of projects under negotiation and we expect stronger demand during Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.” El Wardani added.
El Wardani pointed that his company is in talks with a number of investors who have expressed willingness to invest in solar on other companies’ rooftops for an annual yield–a fact that changes the dynamics of the industry in Dubai where business can turn solar with virtually no investment but with a leasing contract between the financier and the end-user for 15-20 year for a monthly tariff.
“Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Shams Dubai, systemically implemented by DEWA, will definitely become the gold standard for the entire GCC and beyond. DEWA’s professional approach by establishing an entire set of processes, safety and quality requirements, technical specifications, pre-qualifications of vendors followed by proactive training and certification of engineers and their continuous process improvement is unprecedented in the region, which paves the way for transparency and long term sustainable growth. DEWA for sure will be known as the Pioneer of the Renewable Energy Revolution in the Middle East and Asia,” Said Lakshmi Narayan, DEWA Certified PV Solar Expert.
“We are presently executing some solar projects like a 1 MW solar car park and a few rooftop systems under the Shams Dubai initiative. We welcome this initiative from DEWA as we believe it will play a key role in enhancing the emirate’s solar installations. This is essential in order to diversify the energy mix here as well as encourage the use of clean technologies like solar for power generation,” said Ashok Ramakrishna, Business Head of Projects and Solar Energy at Bhatia Brothers LLC.
“The guidelines published by DEWA are well researched. During the design and installation phases of the solar plants that we have installed, we have found our interactions with DEWA to be of a very professional and helpful nature,” added Ramakrishna.
DEWA announced the first project under Shams Dubai initiative, in collaboration with Dubai Airports, to supply Dubai World Central—Al Maktoum International Airport in Jebel Ali with solar energy. The first step in implementing the initiative was installing photovoltaic panels to produce 30kW of electricity there.
The solar array is just one of several projects across our airports aimed at adopting ways to limit our environmental impact while safeguarding the significant economic and social contributions the aviation sector provides Dubai. Initiatives such as these take us a step closer to achieving that ambition,” said Majed Al Joker, Senior Vice President of Operations DWC at Dubai Airports.
DEWA invests heavily in renewable energy R&D
DEWA Innovation Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park includes a number of research and development laboratories in clean energy. It will oversee research and development (R&D) projects, with a total investment of AED 500 million. The centre conducts studies on industrial and social needs, and scientific research in renewable energy. It also acts as a link between researchers and developers to develop strategies for productive and innovative ideas. The Solar Park also has two test technologies for photovoltaic (PV) panels and for concentrated solar power (CSP). The first centre tests 30 types of PV panels from international manufacturers. The panels are studied, evaluated and tested for long-term reliability in local weather conditions. Researchers cooperate with international organisations, to study the impact of dust on PV equipment. These tests will help to develop the standards of PV products.