Abu Dhabi has granted a number of licences to generate solar power at test sites across the emirate, the Regulation and Supervision Bureau has announced.
The institutions that have been granted the licenses to begin generating electricity through solar include schools, the Abu Dhabi Judiciary and Al Ain Zoo. The authority said that an additional 28 licenses-mostly for schools falling under the Abu Dhabi Educational Council- are being processed.
The installations are set to allow customers to meet their own power needs and supply any excess electricity generated back into the broader grid, the bureau said.
Abu Dhabi also published wiring regulations that will allow private property owners to generate their own electricity through solar power.
“Together with our sector partners, we have been studying 11 sites around the city of Abu Dhabi with an installed capacity of over two mega watts (MW) which have been producing electricity for over a year, using several different panels,” said Nick Carter, director general of the Regulation and Supervision Bureau.
“The results of these small-scale solar power installations have been extremely encouraging, to the point where we expect to see property owners across the emirate wishing to install their own photovoltaic (pV) panels on their roofs in the next few years.”
In order to facilitate private installations and generation of electricity using photovoltaic cells, the bureau has also established a regulatory framework with two distribution firms Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC) and Al Ain Distribution Company (AADC).
The framework also includes a special self-regulating license and an inspection programme for all self-generators.
“Every unit of electricity generated by solar power is one less generated by gas,” said Carter.
“By identifying and implementing solutions that address the growing demand for energy alongside highlighting the need to conserve our water and electricity supplies through a change in consumption behaviour, the sector is making real progress to ensure sustainable resources for future generations.”
The UAE has been stepping up investment in solar energy in a bid to diversify its energy mix.
Last year Abu Dhabi launched Shams 1 – the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant (CSP) in operation. The 100MW plant, located in the western region of Abu Dhabi, generates enough clean energy to power 20,000 homes in the UAE.
Dubai too opened the first phase of a 13 MW photovoltaic park last year, which has the capacity to generate 1,000MW of power when completed.