Dubai Government crowdsourcing platform set to drive down solar energy costs

The first deals on offer will be in the residential solar panels and the maintenance.
At present the piloted website features six products including a solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop kit costing from Dh15,200 to just under Dh160,000. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images
At present the piloted website features six products including a solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop kit costing from Dh15,200 to just under Dh160,000. Kevin Frayer / Getty Images

The Dubai Government is to launch a crowdsourcing platform to let residents and businesses pool their resources and drive down prices for energy- and water-efficiency goods and services.

The Green Deal Dubai, akin to other e-commerce sites, will be the first platform in the region geared towards providing consumers and small businesses with economies of scale.

The initiative of the Dubai Green Economy Partnership will be officially announced next month at the World Green Economy Summit. This follows the launch last year of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Shams Dubai initiative to feed solar energy from homes and businesses into the electricity grid.

Ivano Iannelli, the chief executive of centre of excellence Dubai Carbon, said the platform was a response to financial obstacles that were holding back the take-up of the residential solar rooftop scheme. A main financial problem was the obli­gatory cost of hiring a consultancy, which is required to sign off on the project before government approval.

Mr Iannelli offered up his home in Arabian Ranches as a sort of testing ground last year to identify problems, installing a 5.27 kilowatt solar system to power his home – that excluded the air conditioning.

“The market is just ahead of its maturity curve, meaning that we don’t have enough providers that are cost-effective,” he said. “The cost of hiring this consultant to sign off on the drawing [of my home] was equal to the cost of the actual solar system at around Dh20,000.”

And with the Green Deal platform, the idea is that more companies and residents will collaborate to make a larger community, which ultimately drives down costs for the consumer while raising profits for the provider. “We’re achieving a real economical solution with the aim to balance what you save with what you pay,” Mr Iannelli said.

The first deals on offer will be for residential solar panels and maintenance. At present the piloted website features six products including a solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop kit costing from Dh15,200 to just under Dh160,000, depending on what is needed. Options for payment include credit card as well as a “pay as you save” financing option by Emirates Islamic Bank, the Sharia-compliant unit of Dubai lender Emirates NBD.

While the Dubai government’s Shams initiative is in place for solar rooftops, the emirate is still adjusting it.

“Dewa is not just taking steps, but giant strides in bringing green initiatives forward … their steps are much larger than other entities,” Mr Iannelli said.

lgraves@thenational.ae

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Published: September 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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