Tempted by bright idea of so­lar?

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_Shosh shoshana@7days.ae

UAE Res­i­dents fit­ting so­lar pan­els on their homes could see their bills re­duce by up to 50 per cent - if they are will­ing to spend up front on the tech­nol­ogy, ex­perts have said.

Dubai En­ergy and Wa­ter Authority (DEWA) will in the com­ing days launch a new scheme that will al­low homes gen­er­at­ing their own power to con­nect to the na­tional grid.

At present, only a small num­ber of home­own­ers are thought to have so­lar pan­els off-grid. And in­dus­try ex­perts say that much of the ele­crit­icy gen­er­ated in that way is wasted, and those homes still need to use en­ergy from the grid.

Jo­hann Schoe­man, whose com­pany Oryx will be con­nect­ing so­lar-pow­ered homes to DEWA’s grid, said the fall­ing cost of so­lar pan­els now means that adding them to the roof of a villa can start from Dhs20,000.

He said: “The first UAE house­holds will be con­nected to the DEWA elec­tric­ity grid in a mat­ter of days.

“The pan­els will pro­vide be­tween 15-50 per cent of your house’s en­ergy, mean­ing elec­tric­ity bills will be cut by 15-50 per cent.

“The rest of the elec­tric­ity will come from DEWA’s grid.”

Vil­las in Vic­tory Heights and Sus­tain­able City will be the among the first prop­er­ties to be con­nected to DEWA’s grid, Schoe­man said.

Sim­i­lar such schemes in the UK have seen home­own­ers who gen­er­ate ex­cess en­ergy that is fed into the grid given fi­nan­cial re­wards or re­duc­tions on their bills, given they are gen­er­at­ing clean en­ergy.

The project is part of the Dubai Gov­ern­ment’s Shams Dubai ini­tia­tive, which aims to have so­lar pan­els in­stalled on the roofs of all build­ings in the city by 2030.

“With a 12 per cent re­turn the in­vest­ment is ac­tu­ally bet­ter than the yield of a FTSE in­dex tracker or gov­ern­ment bond,” Schoe­man said. “So if you have $10,000 dol­lars ly­ing around in the bank, it’s worth it to buy a so­lar panel for your home out­right.”

The first homes will be con­nected to the grid in a few days – Dubai taxi driver on how the

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