Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has organised a workshop, called, ‘Accelerating Residential Solar Energy in the UAE.’ The workshop supports DEWA’s efforts to adopt renewable and clean energy strategies, and its leadership in launching the Shams Dubai initiative to install photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in houses and buildings.
The workshop was attended by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, Mohamed El-Farnawany, Director of Strategic Management & Executive Direction at IRENA, DEWA’s Executive Vice Presidents and Vice Presidents, government and private organisations from the UAE and GCC countries, and a number of international companies working in solar PV systems. The workshop, which was held in Raffles hotel in Dubai, included panel discussions lead by experts and specialists from the UAE and abroad.
In his opening speech, Al Tayer welcomed the participants and noted that the workshop was held at a time when DEWA is organising an awareness campaign to inform all customers across Dubai about the Shams Dubai initiative, which DEWA launched earlier this year. Shams Dubai enables customers to produce solar energy by installing PV panels on rooftops and linking them to DEWA’s grid.
“The UAE, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, affords great importance to diversifying the energy mix. The UAE’s green vision recognises that alternative energy is the energy of the future. Renewable energy provides clean and sustainable energy that contributes to achieving a balance between development and environment to ensure a clean, healthy and safe environment for future generations. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once observed that, “Without a vision to guide our path, and without ambition that knows no limits, we can never build a bright future for generations to come,”” said Al Tayer.
“Despite the fact that the UAE is one of the biggest oil-producers in the world, and has large natural gas reserves, it is investing heavily into mega pioneering projects to produce clean and renewable energy to protect the environment and our precious resources. Our wise leadership follows in the footsteps of our fathers and grandfathers who paid great attention to the environment and its protection. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, placed great emphasis on environmental sustainability for the benefit of future generations. He observed that, “Our environment and the resources within it are not ours. They are simply on loan to us, and in our charge. It is the responsibility of us all to care for them, and pass them on unharmed to future generations,”” added Al Tayer.
“Every hour, the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. That’s why adopting renewable energy in general, and photovoltaic in particular, has become a strategic necessity for all countries around the world. In addition to big national solar power projects such as the DEWA-managed Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai countries are also encouraging local production of photovoltaic energy in houses and buildings. In the United States, for example, there are approximately 700,000 households with solar systems and, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 66,440 new solar systems were installed in the first three months of this year, as a result of improved technologies and falling costs.”
“In the UAE, DEWA has launched the Shams Dubai initiative to support the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make Dubai the smartest city in the world. The initiative engages the local community in producing renewable energy and contributing to achieving the objectives of the Dubai Government to diversify the energy mix. Shams Dubai allows building owners to install systems to generate electricity using photovoltaic panels. 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. To regulate connecting 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. The resolution defines DEWA’s responsibility in developing a policy for the production of electricity from solar energy, and the adoption of binding agreement terms and models, and monitoring and supervising producers,” said Al Tayer.
“In addition to being a clean and inexhaustible natural source of energy, the costs of producing solar power have decreased in recent years, while photovoltaic technology has improved significantly. This makes Shams Dubai an important economic option for customers in Dubai. It contributes to achieving the objectives of the Dubai Government to diversify energy resources and supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish the UAE as one of the global leaders in green economy, while maintaining a sustainable environment that supports economic growth in the long run,” added Al Tayer.
“The UAE Vision 2021 aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021, when we celebrate the golden jubilee of our beloved union. The UAE has already achieved advanced positions in various global indicators. Today, we come together to discuss developing and expanding the use of solar energy in buildings in the UAE, with experts and specialists from the UAE and abroad. We will achieve our goal to become leaders in harnessing the solar energy, which Allah has granted us. This will be achieved thanks to the collaboration of the government and private sectors and individuals. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum once observed that, ‘Our country may be small, but our people are remarkable and the feats that we have achieved are amazing. We have no way towards the future other than by joining efforts and working together. So together let us lead our country and generations towards a brighter and more prosperous future’,” concluded Al Tayer.
The workshop included a speech by Al Farnwany, in addition to specialised sessions that discussed the latest international developments in PV solar systems, the role of creativity in accelerating the adoption of solar energy in the UAE, how to bring down solar PV costs, and comparing global policies with the UAE’s current policies. DEWA also showcased its experience with Shams Dubai and shared the lessons learned from the initiative. IRENA showcased its Navigator project. Dr. Saad Al Jandal from the Energy and Building Research Centre at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, gave an overview of the grid-connected rooftop solar PV projects in Kuwait. Experts from the USA, Germany, Brazil, and India also discussed their experiences with rooftop solar energy systems.
Participants commended the information highlighted in the workshop, noting that it will open new horizons in the UAE and GCC in general, accelerating the adoption of solar energy in buildings.