In March of 2016, Dubai’s Water and Electricity Authority has launched the Shams Dubai initiative to encourage households to tap into solar energy by installing solar power panels. The initiative came as part of resolution number 46 of 2014, issued by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to regulate the connection of solar energy to Dubai’s power grid, encouraging household and building owners to install PV panels to generate electricity, and connect them to DEWA’s grid. The electricity is used on site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network.
What is solar power?
Solar energy generation is harnessing the power of the sun through solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and converting it into electricity without burning fuel, hence making it a zero-carbon alternative.
Each solar panel produces 250 to 270 watts of electricity and depending on the number of panels installed in a single house, it can power refrigerators, televisions, music systems, chargers, and lighting.
More and more countries are introducing solar panels as alternative energy sources for homes.
How does it work in Dubai?
Solar power for homes and buildings has been made available in Dubai since March and the demand has been increasing ever since.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) launched the Shams Dubai initiative in March to enable individual homeowners and buildings to tap sunlight to power their homes and buildings.
The biggest incentive for Dubai residents is that investing in solar is investing in the future. It produces clean energy and has a long lifespan that can give you returns on investment after a few years.
Why go solar?
- Completely eliminate or drastically reduce your electric bills.
- Earn a great return on your investment.
- Increase your property value.
- Boost U.S. energy independence.
- Protect the environment.
How to go solar in Dubai?
Applications can be put in for free and may take between a week for small systems producing 10kW or 20kW, and four to eight weeks for larger, commercial, or industrial systems.
As of September 13, DEWA has enlisted 23 companies who have enrolled with it as consultants and contractors.
The process to obtain the Shams Dubai program., according to DEWA, requires four stages:
- The No Objection Certificate (NOC) stage.
- The Design Approval stage.
- The Inspection and Connection stage.
- The Generation stage.
Costs of going solar in Dubai
Solar costs in the world have dropped considerably over the last few years, making it a good incentive for those who want to shift to solar energy. As for Dubai homes, a single answer to the exact cost is unavailable since installing solar panels depends on the size of the house and the energy consumption.
A rough estimation of the cost could be simple put into these figures:
5kW system consisting of 20 panels would be enough to cover 20% of a 2-3 bedroom villa’s energy needs. The entire system would cost approximately 35,000AED and a return on investment can be expected in 8 years. In short, if your monthly bill is between 1,500AED and 2,000AED, the system will save you between 250AED and 300AED a month.
The costs of operating solar panels in households will continue to drop as more and more contractors enter the market.
Other costs to be considered when installing solar panels are:
- Cleaning cost: Because of dust, solar panels need to be cleaned every 15 days
- Automated machines (10 percent of the entire cost)
- Manual cleaning through specialized cleaning services (6 percent of the entire cost)
- Steel structure for the roof bracing (7 to 12 percent of the entire cost)
- Installation of the meter that measures the electricity generated by the PV system from DEWA as part of the one-off connection fees (1,500AED)