Road to renewables: Dubai residents to see lower DEWA bills with solar power

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is a brilliant showcase of Dubai’s massive strides in the solar sector.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: With Dubai making substantial strides in energy diversification, especially in the solar sector, the emirate’s residents can look forward to lower electricity bills, a senior official told Gulf News.

Dr Aaesha Alnuaimi, director of the Innovation Centre at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), was speaking to Gulf News on the sidelines of the first Middle East and North Africa Solar Conference (MENA-SC) 2023 in Dubai, which concluded yesterday (November 18).

“If you look at the cost of solar power a decade ago, it was among the highest,” said Alnuaimi. “But now if we look at it, it is the lowest compared to all other renewable energy resources as well as fossil fuel.”

Dr Aaesha Alnuaimi, director of the Innovation Centre at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)
Image Credit: Supplied

The director explained: “The cost reduction is happening quickly and severely because of the advancement in technology and the recent research that is helping to develop more efficient and cost-effective solar cells.”

Fuel surcharges

As we move away from fossil fuels and go towards renewable energy, Dr Alnuaimi said residents can definitely see a reduction in their electricity bills and fuel surcharges.

The surcharges in DEWA bills are currently pegged against the fuel prices in the market.

She described a positive trend in the deployment of solar energy worldwide, with increased capacity and efficiency, driven by advancements in research and technology.

“Cost is playing a key role towards the advancement and the large deployment of solar and the main reason behind it is the recent research that is looking at more efficient and cost-effective materials.”

Lowest cost

When it comes to implementing solar projects, she said DEWA always has the Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE), potentially leading to reduced consumer bills.

“It is always the lowest cost when it comes to the cost of solar electricity. And this enables us to encourage further deployment of solar in the region. With the cost reduction of solar, you will see even more people are considering solar for their rooftops and we have specific projects and initiatives in DEWA – for example, Shams Dubai – that enables households to build and have their own solar rooftops,” Alnuaimi added.

Dubai’s rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity under Shams Dubai programme reached a cumulative capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) in 2022.

Dr Alnuaimi said DEWA is putting together a clear roadmap in terms of the implementation and deployment of solar projects. “You can see these efforts implemented in the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.”

The installed production capacity of the park currently stands at nearly 2,700 megawatts (MW), raising clean energy’s share in Dubai’s electricity production to over 16 per cent of the total capacity.

In 2020, a seven per cent solar energy target was surpassed, reaching an impressive nine per cent. Looking ahead, the 2030 goal of achieving 25 per cent solar contribution is on the horizon.

The diversification of energy projects in Dubai includes solar, hydropower, green hydrogen, and more in line with the emirate’s clean energy strategy that aims to produce 75 per cent of its energy requirements from clean sources by 2050.

From November 15 to 18, the MENA-SC 2023 conference was held in conjunction with the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show 2023.

Organised by DEWA, the MENA-SC focuses on all areas of photovoltaics with a rich programme on PV materials and devices, future technologies, PV reliability, and forecasting for performance assessment. Areas extend to system operation, concentrated solar power, and grid integration, all of which are key in accelerating the green energy transformation.

During the conference, experts explored the benefits of perovskite solar cells to enhance photovoltaic systems in the region’s climate conditions.