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Floating solar farms are currently the latest trend in the solar industry. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Solar panels might soon float on a section of the Arabian Gulf to produce clean energy for Dubai to add to the emirate’s energy mix as Dubai has floated the tender to get experts to study, develop and construct a floating solar farm.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) on Sunday issued a request for proposal (RFP) for appointing consultants to study, develop and construct floating solar photovoltaic plants in the Arabian Gulf.

The new and innovative initiative supports the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 (DCES 2050) to diversify the energy mix in Dubai, to make the emirate a global hub for clean energy and green economy, and provide 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy by 2050.

Floating solar farms are currently the latest trend in the solar industry. The first such kind was built in 2007 in Aichi, Japan followed by some small-scale projects in France, Italy, South Korea, Spain and the US, according to the World Bank’s Floating Solar Market Report ‘Where Sun Meets Water’.

Other countries have since adapted the technology with China being the largest player and other countries such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, Norway, among others.

Floating solar farms are the best option for countries where availability of space is a consideration. These farms can be built on dams, lakes, and water reservoirs. The solar panels are built on stable floating system that has mooring device to adjust to adapt to changing water levels.

In Dewa’s tender, the consultancy services include a feasibility study, the technical requirements for a floating solar photovoltaic plant, an environmental impact assessment report, a study of the marine requirements, and other necessary studies on setting up electrical transmission, a safety plan, and a seawater feasibility studies, including tidal and system specifications, and system performance.

“At Dewa, we launch innovative initiatives and solutions in line with our vision to provide an innovative and sustainable world for generations to come. Floating photovoltaic systems are one of the most prominent emerging technologies that rely on installing solar photovoltaic systems directly above water,” said Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa.

Achieving the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 will require a production capacity of 42,000 megawatts (MW) of clean and renewable energy by 2050.

Dubai is already home to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Project model, with a planned capacity of 5,000MW by 2030 at a total investment of Dh50 billion.