Free, clean and renewable – the power of the sun has unlimited potential to help millions of people and also a great help to solve some of the environmental challenges.
There has been a lot of focus in the recent years on the need and importance to grow and develop renewable and alternative energy in the region. In fact, we at MEP Job Gulf conducted a brief interview with some of the champions in the solar industry, just to understand the current scenario with regards to solar energy and the future outlook for the same.
Mr. Shyam, Managing Director of Clenergize said that “UAE has a great location in terms of solar radiation per square meter and the number of sunny days per year. The country also has most of the solar supplier’s headquarters for the MENA region along with a good base of Contractors and Developers. Adding National level targets and Government boost to the mix, there already is a visible traction in the UAE market. The increase of renewables not only benefits the environmental and technological side, but also the public image that this country has created – as the leader in this region.”
However, having said that small size projects continue to remain a challenge. “Cost of ownership of a solar system for Villas and Residential properties that are primarily less than 20KWp is prohibitively high. This is primarily because of the fixed costs involved in project implementation viz., approvals and related fees, minimum profit margins per project and minimum threshold of large installers.” said Mr. Amin Lakhani, General Manager of Apex Power Concepts.
Further, “In terms of the residential sector, there is a very large transient population that rents houses instead of owning them and the decision to go solar is stalled between the Owner and the Tenant. As for the Commercial and Industrial sectors the tariffs are still too low in parts of UAE to show attractive returns. It is still very much feasible commercially, but relative returns compared to Dubai appear low” added Mr. Shyam, Managing Director of Clenergize.
Thus, though there are some eminent challenges the Solar Industry also has a very promising future. It is expected that the Commercial and Industrial properties will continue to hold prominence in UAE especially those with corrugated sheet roof tops as their energy tariffs are high. “Larger power plant projects like the Shams projects might take the back burner and we move ahead “suggests Mr. Amin Lakhani, General Manager of Apex Power Concepts Trading.
One can also look forward to seeing new developments in areas like, “Storage systems with Solar systems and also an upgrade on PV panel efficiency which is currently taking place with most of the PV panel manufacturers” said Ms. Haneen Abuzaid, Sales Manager of City Solar.
Further, “Hydrogen as a storage and as a fuel will have multi-faceted endurance from multiple industries to deploy technologies related to Hydrogen. Mobility, energy production and storage” said Mr. Amin Lakhani, General Manager of Apex Power Concepts Trading.
Also, Robotics cleaning and Solar carparks are concepts that will engage considerable research and development especially in the UAE.
The Solar industry is definitely expected to grow further, “Though there was a slow start with a lot of convincing required in the first two (2) years. There has been a strong demand in the last few months of year 2018 and projects are materializing. If the yardstick is the present market situation, then I must say it will swell up very fast within 2019 itself. Decision making remains a long process, but at least clients are now asking for offers and contemplating. We expect around 70-80 MW per year deployed in the coming years in UAE” said Mr. Shyam, Managing Director of Clenergize
“A growth of 20% or higher is definitely on cards for short to medium term.” added Mr. Amin Lakhani, General Manager of Apex Power Concepts Trading.