Re­gional firms can re­duce their en­ergy costs by tap­ping into re­new­able en­ergy

Arabian Business English - - 2019 PREDICTIONS ENERGY - By Lau­rent Longuet, CEO AT SIRAJPOWER

IN 2018 AND ON A RE­GIONAL level, we have seen a lot of pos­i­tive ini­tia­tives and poli­cies to en­cour­age the adop­tion of so­lar en­ergy. Even though the mar­ket hasn’t reached ma­tu­rity yet, the tran­si­tion is ac­cel­er­at­ing and we are see­ing good mo­men­tum in Dubai and the UAE, where there are a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties. In Dubai only, the so­lar power plants un­der con­struc­tion at this time are much larger than the largest ex­ist­ing nu­clear re­ac­tors in the world. So­lar en­ergy, and more gen­er­ally re­new­able en­er­gies, is not a so­lu­tion for to­mor­row. Change is hap­pen­ing and it is start­ing in the re­gion, from the UAE.

Dubai has been putting a lot of ef­forts to have all rooftops fit­ted with Pho­to­voltaic (PV) pan­els. Ac­cord­ing to DEWA, Dubai has achieved over 50MW of in­stalled ca­pac­ity con­nected to the grid, with a grow­ing in­ter­est es­ti­mated to be over 400MW to date. Ini­tia­tives such as Shams Dubai which was launched in 2015, with an ob­jec­tive to have so­lar pan­els on all rooftops across the Emi­rates by 2030, played a key role to pro­mote Dubai’s sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion into a green econ­omy. Dubai is tar­get­ing to gen­er­ate 7 per­cent of its to­tal power out­put from clean en­ergy sources by

2020, 25 per­cent by 2030 and 75 per­cent by 2050. While the ma­jor­ity of re­new­able en­ergy ca­pac­ity in­stalled by 2030 is ex­pected to em­anate from the MBR so­lar de­vel­op­ment, Dubai is re­ly­ing on the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of its am­bi­tious Shams rooftop so­lar pro­gramme to meet its 75 per­cent clean en­ergy goal by the year 2050.

If the reg­u­la­tory frame­work could surely be im­proved, it is al­ready suf­fi­cient for a wide adop­tion of the so­lar rooftop so­lu­tions through­out Dubai. Pub­lic aware­ness for a sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment is an­other key suc­cess fac­tor that should be broadly com­mu­ni­cated and be part of the ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram. To­day, the pub­lic sec­tor should serve as a role model, paving the way for the pri­vate sec­tor (com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial clients) to ad­here to this na­tional am­bi­tion of hav­ing a so­lar rooftop on ev­ery roof by 2030.

As the mar­ket con­tin­ues to grow and com­pe­ti­tion in­creases, we believe we will see in­dus­try con­sol­i­da­tion in 2019. The other chal­lenge will be on the op­er­a­tions and main­te­nance (O&M) side. In­deed, we have seen many sys­tems in­stalled in the last 12 to 18 months, with a sig­nif­i­cant share of them not be­ing de­signed to high stan­dards of qual­ity. Own­ers will start fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties and, when not sup­ported by a proper O&M part­ner, may ex­pe­ri­ence low per­for­mance. It will be im­por­tant for companies to heav­ily in­vest in de­vel­op­ing strin­gent stan­dards of qual­ity with the im­ple­men­ta­tion of proper O&M tools and method­ol­ogy to en­sure the high­est per­for­mance over the life of the sys­tems.

In 2019, we also ex­pect the mar­ket to be ad­dressed with the in­tro­duc­tion of new tech­nolo­gies be­yond the roof-top mar­ket only. This in­cludes, for in­stance, so­lar car­port, off-grid sys­tems. In ad­di­tion to that, we wel­come the re­cent pro­gresses made by PV man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­pose, at a very com­pet­i­tive price, some higher ef­fi­ciency pho­to­voltaic so­lu­tions. At the same time, we are thrilled to get some larger size in­vert­ers which al­low a re­duc­tion in cap­i­tal costs. Both con­trib­ute in giving companies like us the op­por­tu­nity to of­fer our cus­tomers much more com­pet­i­tive of­fers. For the near fu­ture, we are very ex­cited by bat­tery tech­nolo­gies and the pos­si­bil­ity they of­fer in terms of pro­vid­ing an af­ford­able cost of elec­tric­ity for so­lar au­ton­o­mous sys­tems.

Over­all, we an­tic­i­pate more lo­cal busi­nesses, in­clud­ing large and rep­utable names, to adopt re­new­able en­ergy sources, es­pe­cially so­lar power, as it re­mains the high­est value in the re­gion due to the largest so­lar ra­di­a­tion. More and more companies are keen to sub­stan­tially re­duce their en­ergy ex­pen­di­ture while ful­fill­ing com­mit­ment to­ward a sus­tain­able fu­ture in line with the Emi­rates’ long-term green vi­sion.

OP­ER­A­TIONS AND MAIN­TE­NANCE WILL BE A CHAL­LENGE IN 2019” WE EX­PECT TO SEE NEW TECH­NOLO­GIES BE­YOND SO­LAR ROOFTOPS”

Bright side The re­gion has seen many pos­i­tive so­lar power ini­tia­tives

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