The head of Dewa said that Dubai could easily surpass its 7 per cent clean-energy target by 2020, as one of the largest private rooftop projects in the emirate, from the power technology group ABB, was unveiled yesterday.
Saeed Al Tayer, the managing director and chief executive of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), said that programmes such as the Shams Initiative were accelerating and pushing the emirate past its clean-energy targets.
“It’s difficult to predict targets,” Mr Al Tayer said. “In the strategy, 7 per cent was based on only [Dewa] projects but we may have [up to] 1.5 per cent added because prices are coming down as well as efficiency and technology improvements.”
Dubai announced two years ago that it would have 7 per cent of its energy mix coming from clean energy sources and 25 per cent by 2030. Last year it was expanded to 75 per cent by 2050.
Solar panel prices have fallen by 80 per cent since 2009, according to the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency. And average electricity costs could decrease by 59 per cent for solar photovoltaics (PV) by 2025 compared with 2015.
This has helped to catapult Dubai’s Shams Initiative, which aims to have solar panels on every rooftop in the emirate. Since the initiative began in 2015, more than 300 buildings have started using solar for power generation.
ABB joined the initiative yesterday, showcasing its solar installation at the company’s Al Quoz facility, representing one of the largest private solar rooftop installations in Dubai. More than 1,200 solar panels span the rooftop producing 315 kilowatts of power, enough for 50 homes.
The US$500,000 investment will result in a five-year payback, according to Frank Duggan, ABB’s regional president.
He said that the company was attracting strong market interest from potential players. “We had 35 companies here today, some we’re doing business with, some who are observing and others who are looking to develop,” he said.
Yet like many solar rooftop installers, ABB is focused on the commercial market rather than the residential space. “What’s been proven in Italy and Germany is that when it’s left to individual households, things won’t move quickly,” he said.
Mr Duggan offered an alternative to get housing developers to join the market to quicken the pace, renting the rooftop space from residents.
“Then they install [solar] and make a business out of it – that’s the real key to drive residential growth,” he said.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter