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Solar Energy Panels in UAE Report

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Updated: May 7th, 2020

Solar energy panel is a collection of photovoltaic cells that capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. The cells do not necessarily need direct sunlight so as to generate electricity as they can do so even on a cloudy day. An interesting area in mechanical engineering is the enhancement of solar energy panel for generation of more electricity.

This will have several effects on the United Arabs Emirates. It will cut down the cost of electricity drastically as sunlight is free. Sunlight electricity does not lead to the emission of carbon dioxide or any other pollutant into the atmosphere. Global warming is increasing daily with adverse effects on human beings and the environment.

Future sources of electricity will have to be produced by means that don’t pollute the environment. An example is solar energy panels. This report will examine the future of solar energy and the incentive schemes that can be put in place to develop the United Arab Emirates solar energy industry. Though several projects for solar energy are under construction, the full potential in this area remains largely unexploited. This is because the private sector and individuals have not been given proper incentives that would see them play a major role in the installation of solar energy panels (Energy from the Desert, 2007).

Several groundbreaking projects are on the way in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE poised to become a leader in renewable energy, 2012). There are a 100 megawatts concentrated solar power near Saudi Arabia border which is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. A 100 megawatts photovoltaic power plant is coming up.

There is also an ambitious 1-gigawatt project in Dubai expected to be completed in 2030. As ambitious as there are, Michael (2000) argues that they may not achieve much without the involvement of the private sector. The case of Germany, in which the private sector leads the government in the installation of solar energy panels, shows that government alone can not achieve much. The private sector needs to be given incentives to invest in solar energy.

Many people have argued that ideas that have worked elsewhere can be tried in UAE. They fail to take into consideration several unique aspects of the UAE. To start with, the country has a low artificial consumption of electricity. Artificial because the government of Abu Dhabi pays a large part of it. This makes it difficult to promote the development of solar energy (Boxwell, 2010).

Secondly, the country’s consumption of electricity is very high and is even projected to rise further. Projections have shown that up to $ 1 trillion has to be put aside to avert an energy crisis. Thirdly, UAE experiences irradiation going as high as 2,200kWh/m2. Ironically, this potential has not been harnessed. Lastly, a population of up to 81% is not permanent residents of the UAE. They are therefore less likely to be interested in incentives that require several years to pay off. In light of the aforementioned realities, different incentives can be adopted.

One of the incentives that have been very successful all over the world is the use of Feed-in tariffs. In this system, individuals produce electric power which they channel to a power system. They are then paid based on agreed rates. Given the fact that the UAE has a very high consumption of electricity, this may not work. It is not rational for one to feed energy into the grid system before even he has attained self-sufficiency. Rather, incentives should be given to those who generate enough electricity for their consumption (Choucri, Goldsmith & Mezher, 2011)

Net metering has worked well over the years. It is based on self-consumption. It works well if private investors can generate electricity at a lower cost than the market rates. As we have seen earlier, the cost of electricity is artificially low in UAE and this incentive may therefore not work well. Instead, self-generated and self-consumed electricity should be metered. Tariffs can then be paid for such electricity to give relief to private investors (Michael, 2000)

Subsidies can also be used to make it easier for private investors, and individuals to install solar panels. The initial capital for the installation of solar panels and other necessary infrastructure is very high. If subsidies are given, by governments or organizations, it will be affordable for individuals to generate electricity using solar panels (Solar panels, 2012). Since there is no tax regime in UAE, subsidies could be the only plausible means of cutting the initial cost.

Given the unique circumstance in the UAE, a customized incentive scheme would work better. It is important to note that those who try to produce electric power end up spending more than they would have spent if they were served by their subscribers. The best incentive would be to pay a tariff to people who generate and consume their own electricity.

Those who would have installed solar panels will benefit twice. First, they do not have to pay any electricity bill. Second, they will be paid for the electricity they generate. This incentive has several advantages. It is simple as it does not require any infrastructure to implement. It will promote the generation of solar electricity which is very clean. Todorova (2012) asserts that Individuals and private investors will break even earlier and easily, that is, the benefits will balance and surpass the initial cost after a shorter period.

In summary, this report has highlighted the benefits of enhancing solar energy panel in the UAE. Those benefits include cutting cost for individuals and private investors and the fact that emissions and pollutants will be drastically reduced. The paper has also examined various incentive schemes and why they may work or fail to work in the UAE.

A unique country in terms of the artificially low cost of electricity, lack of a tax regime and high irradiation among other aspects, only a customized incentive scheme can work best. It is important to note that UAE is one of the leading producers of oil and it thus emits large amounts of carbon dioxide (The country & The Environment – Solar Energy, 2012). Solar energy panels are therefore one of the major ways the country can adopt in order to produce clean energy and create self-sufficiency.

References

Boxwell, M.(2010). Solar Electricity Handbook: A Simple, Practical Guide to Solar Energy. Warwickshire, United Kingdom: Greenstream Publishing

Choucri, N., Goldsmith, D. & Mezher, T (2011). Renewable Energy in Abu Dhabi: Opportunities and Challenges.Journal Energy Engineering, 137(4), 169–176.

doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)EY.1943-7897.0000042

Energy from the Desert. (2007). In K.Kurokawa (Ed.) practical proposals for very large scale photovoltaic systems Feasibility of Very Large Scale Power Generation. (pp.44-46).Gateshead, UK: Mapset ltd

Michael, K. (2012, May 2012) UAE tariff quest: Thoughts on a possible incentive scheme.

. (2012).

The country & The Environment – Solar Energy.(2012).

Todorova, V. (2012). .

UAE poised to become leader in renewable energy. (2012).

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