Dubai: A new research facility has been officially launched at Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the world’s largest single-site solar park in Dubai.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA’s) Research and Development (R&D) Centre at the solar park.
Shaikh Mohammad visited the sections and labs of the R&D Centre, which covers 4,400 square metres. Around 70 per cent of the centre’s staff are Emiratis.
The centre’s areas of work include solar power; the integration of smart grids; energy efficiency, and water, in addition to Fourth Industrial Revolution applications such as ‘3-D Printing and Additive Manufacturing’ as one of the innovative solutions to produce spare parts for electricity generation, transmission, and distribution divisions.
Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; and Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, attended the event.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA, and senior officials from both the public and private sectors were also present.
The centre is the only one of its kind in the UAE that focuses on renewable energy, smart grid technologies and energy efficiency, DEWA said. It has the “largest and most comprehensive’ solar testing and certification facility in the UAE. It operates the longest continuous testing of photovoltaic panels in the UAE in desert climate conditions, DEWA added.
Shaikh Mohammad was briefed by Al Tayer about the centre’s areas of work. The centre has various internal labs and outdoor labs to study the performance and reliability of PV panels. The outdoor labs include testing different solar panel technologies and performance, as well as a safe zone for drone testing.
Sheikh Mohammad also met a number of the centre’s researchers and experts. The entre has 37 male and female researchers, 20 of whom (54 per cent) are PhD and MSc holders. The team has published over 40 papers in international conferences and magazines. The R&D Centre was granted one patent, with five more under process.
“We are committed to anticipating and shaping the future of energy and water... as well as the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to generate 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy sources by 2050,” said Al Tayer.
The R&D Centre received a Platinum Rating for green buildings from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the US Green Building Council. The Centre has PV panels installed on its roof and car parking as well as Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) in its walls. The building reduces energy consumption by over 25 per cent and saves more than 50 per cent water. The percentage of recycled materials is more than 30 per cent.