Some 1,213 solar panels are sprawled on the roof of ABB’s corporate office in Dubai that can generate solar energy enough to power 50 households in a year. Image Credit: Courtesy: ABB

Dubai: The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) on Monday inaugurated one of Dubai’s largest private rooftop solar installations on ABB’s corporate office that can produce clean energy enough to power up to 50 households a year.

The ABB’s office in Al Qouz has been generating solar energy for the past month as part of the Shams Dubai initiative, which encourages households to harness the sun’s power through rooftop solar panels. Some 1,213 solar panels sprawled on its 4,000 square metre rooftop produce 497,000 kWh per year.

Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dewa, attended the inauguration, along with senior officials from Dewa and pioneering technology leader, ABB.

“This is one of the largest private sector rooftop solar installations here in Dubai and it will add value to our strategy to provide 7 per cent of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020. This project, along with others, will increase this percentage that’s why I said that maybe the target will change to up to 8 per cent because we now have requests for solar power installations which can generate 120MW electricity,” Al Tayer told Gulf News.

“We have already connected 300 buildings and trained more than 300 engineers and we have 57 consultants and contractors for this job. We have also approved 70 manufacturers from all around the world. So it means that the Shams Dubai initiative is moving in the right direction.”

Frank Duggan, President of ABB Asia, Middle East and Africa, said the investment costs $500,000 (Dh1.83 million) with a return on investment in five years.

“It’s not so much as the investment in terms of money that we’re focusing on. What’s clear here is we would like this to be a demonstration of the private sector’s support to [the Dubai leadership’s] push for renewable energy and making Dubai a benchmark for clean energy and a smart city,” Duggan said.

“People would love to have a quicker payback than five years but a five-year payback is reasonable. Clearly for us, we see this as a worthwhile investment and a clear demonstration of our commitment to Dubai.”

Paolo Mastrogiacomo, Regional Market Manager for solar and renewable at ABB, said the rooftop panels produce up to 40 per cent of the energy needs of their building based on their theoretical calculations. Official data will be released in six months.