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AED 4.3 Trillion Construction Growth To Boost Solar Energy Industry
(4 August 2013)


A surge in commercial and residential construction projects across the Gulf will provide the solar energy sector with huge opportunities for growth and innovation, according to industry experts.

Latest reports estimate nearly AED4.3 trillion worth of construction projects across the MENA region over the next decade, further increasing the demand for energy which is already growing at between seven and eight percent per annum.

Solaris emerging as a key power source to sustainably meet these supply challenges.Studies have shown that the installation of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) in a typical residential home can provide an average electricity surplus of 25,000 kilowatt hours per year, after meeting electricity needs, and reduce household energy bills by at least 25 per cent.

“Awareness of the need to develop green buildings and sustainable environments in the UAE is rapidly increasing, and there are concerted efforts across the entire supply chain to promote green building practices. Integrating solar panels to produce energy for hot water, HVAC systems and electricity is a key step in making buildings more sustainable,” said Adnan Sharafi, chairman of Emirates Green Building Council.

“With the UAE expecting a 71 per cent increase in primary energy demand by 2019 and the total energy spend set to be over US$926 million, adapting solar energy in the total energy mix of buildings is a significant way forward,” said Mr Sharafi.

Office towers are very expensive to operate with thousands of window panes that absorb heat and raise air-conditioning costs. However, products like the In’Flector window insulation panels from the UAE-based Al Serkal Group could reduce energy costs by up to 50 per cent.

“In’Flector is one of the most relevant products in the market today when it comes to creating green buildings,” said Ian Constable, managing director of In’Flector.

“In’Flector is a unique product due to its transparent nature – setting it apart from common curtains, blinds and window film.The panels were originally developed by NASA for their space shuttle missions, and have since been adopted for window technology. They reflect back up to 92 per cent of UV rays, 80 per cent of radiant heat and 78 per cent of solar heat gain while letting in the natural light. This means vastly reduced cooling costs and lower lighting costs when compared to a building with floor-to-ceiling curtains and blinds.”

Residential developers in Gulf countries are exploring ways to utilize clean energy and new technologies in their construction projects in support of the sustainability commitments shown by governments across the region.

“Emaar’s focus on enhancing energy efficiency is highlighted in the development of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, which leverages the potential offered by solar power. For example, a bulk of the water heating requirements forresidents is met through solar energy.We will continue to explore new opportunities for promoting energy and water efficiency among our communities and support the UAE’s sustainable development goals,”said Ahmed Al Matrooshi, managing director, Emaar Properties.

Fadah Al Ketbi, chief operations officer, AldarProperties, the first developer in Abu Dhabi with 2 Pearl-rated communities and villas, said these sustainable communities are achieving around 20 per cent less energy consumption.“This was achieved through the use of a better insulated building envelope (walls, windows and roofs), more efficient AC systems, the use of LED lighting, and the use of solar water heating systems. The implementation of these measures not only contributes to the rationalization of energy consumption but also helps to create better and healthier communities,” said Mr. Al Ketbi

Solar power innovation and investmentwas a major feature at this year’s World Future Energy Summit (WFES), with some of the largest solar companies in the world exhibiting their latest technologiesincluding First Solar, SunTech, Canadian Solar, SolarWorld and Sunpower. This participation has firmly established WFES as a global and regional thoughtleader in solar energy.

“Next year, WFES will have an even stronger focus on the future use of solar power in buildings with the introduction of an Eco-City and an Eco-Hotel in the Sustainable Living area as an extension of the successful environmental home at this year’s event. These features will showcase the role that solar can play in energy efficiency and sustainable living within domestic and commercial environments,” said Naji El Haddad, show director for the 2014 World Future Energy Summit.

“WFES 2014 will also continue its thought-leadership and knowledge-sharing platform with high-level solar experts participating in the conference programme,” said Mr El Haddad.

Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, WFESis the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), a global platform that addresses the interconnected challenges that affect the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy. WFESwill be co-located with the second International Water Summit and the first EcoWaste, also hosted by Masdar.

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