ABU DHABI // Dubai’s announcement that it planned to triple its renewable-energy target was more good news for solar companies after a buoyant 2014, a leading solar entrepreneur has said.
Sami Khoreibi, the chief executive and founding partner of local solar installer Enviromena Power Systems, said raising Dubai’s 2030 renewables target to 15 per cent was “incredibly exciting news”.
The decision, he said, made economic sense considering the rapidly falling prices of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies. At a tender last year Dubai Electricity and Water Authority was offered a rate of US$5.98 (Dh22) per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the energy output of a proposed 100 megawatt solar plant.
The decision was then made to double the size of the plant, achieving a further cost reduction to $5.84 per kWh from the company that is to build and operate the plant.
“The cost of PV energy being proposed in Dubai is competitive virtually with all kinds of traditional sources of energy,” said Mr Khoreibi.
“When the 5 per cent target came out, solar was at a higher price and, although there was an economic case to be made at that point, there was also a very strong underlying environmental case,” he said. “That environmental case still exists today but it is being complemented with the fact that it is potentially the lowest cost of energy that you could get on a very stable basis.”
Mr Khoreibi’s Abu Dhabi company has been operating a Dubai office for more than a year now and he said that a decision to allow the owners of smaller-scale solar systems to feed energy into the electrical grid was another reason for optimism.
“The recent announcement of a solar rooftop programme has been very positive news as well because we see that as a unique and first step of distributed solar being integrated into the Dubai grid,” he said. “Our expectation is that there is going to be a very positive response by business owners, roof owners and, of course, solar companies to be involved in this programme as well.”
Abu Dhabi, as well as other areas in the region, were also expected to come up with more solar plans, said Mr Khoreibi.
“We expect exponential growth in the region so it is going to be very exciting, not just in Dubai but in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, multiple countries throughout the region are going to be very, very active over the next 12 months,” he said.