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Recognizing the need to find alternative energy sources, and the fact that the UAE, being a Middle Eastern country by virtue of its location, enjoys months of tremendous solar exposure during summer, power plants employing solar energy continue to be part of the country’s long-term development plans.
Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, a model planned city which is yet to be completed, was launched in 2006 and already makes use of photovoltaic technology as part of the plan to use various renewable energy sources.
Part of Dubai’s massive $12 billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Energy Park project, which was officially inaugurated in January 2012, was launched late last year. The Dh120 million 13-megawatt photovoltaic power plant at Seih Al Dahal is located in the south-eastern part of the emirate. One news report mentioned that the solar power facility is “capable of displacing 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.” This major project is meant to address the growing energy demands in the emirate and is one of the city’s answer to the need for renewable and sustainable energy resources.
Meanwhile, back in Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest solar power project called Shams 1 was launched in March 2013. The power plant is expected to generate energy enough to supply 20,000 homes. Encompassing a 2.5-square-kilometer area, the gargantuan project promises to displace about 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year which is tantamount to reducing the number of cars on the road by 15,000 units, or equivalent to 1.5 million trees being planted.
In other emirates, Kempinski Hotel in Ajman has been known to be the first hotel in the emirate to employ solar panels as a source of energy. The world’s largest solar-powered water desalination plant is set to be built in Ras Al Khaimah. Sharjah, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain have more modest solar power projects taking root, and solar power industries are expected to continue thriving.
• Masdar City among first major projects designed to use solar power
• Dubai’s 13MW photovoltaic power plant at Seih Al Dahal launched
• RAK set to build world’s largest solar-powered desalination plant
Source: Lovely Claire CD, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer