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MD and CEO of DEWA visits construction of Solar Testing Facility

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7 Jan 2015

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) visited the construction site of the Solar Testing Facility at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which will be one of the largest Photovoltaic (PV) testing centres in the region. The testing facility is part of the Research and Development Centre (R&D) at solar park. Al Tayer was accompanied by Waleed Salman, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at DEWA.

MD and CEO of DEWA visits construction of Solar Testing Facility

Al Tayer emphasised the importance of the solar testing facility, which includes two testing facilities, one for photovoltaic (PV) solar testing and the other for concentrated solar power (CSP).

“The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park underlines DEWA’s commitment to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to diversify the energy mix in Dubai. It supports the Green Economy for Sustainable Development initiative, which was launched by His Highness to enhance the sustainable development of Dubai. The Park is a key pillar in accomplishing the goals of the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030, developed by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy to reduce energy demand and promote renewable energy sources. As per the strategy, solar energy will constitute 5% of Dubai’s energy portfolio by 2030. It also support the Dubai Plan 2021 for Dubai to sustainably manage its resources, and ensure its environment is clean, healthy, and sustainable,” said Al Tayer.

“DEWA places the highest emphasis on research and development to support the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to enhance innovation, and in line with the National Innovation Strategy to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world. Research and development and solar energy testing increase reliability and durability of photovoltaic modules, with the purpose of decreasing the risk and uncertainty in photovoltaic performance due to the severe conditions and long time periods in which photovoltaic modules are required to operate. Further analysis on the modules under test will provide valuable information on the technology characteristics that can help improve PV performance in the region under various climates,” added Al Tayer.

“His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, has issued resolution No (46) of 2014 regulating the linkage of solar power generation to Dubai's grid. It supports the smart initiative that DEWA has launched to encourage households and building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels to generate electricity. The solar system provides electricity on site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network. This encourages the use of renewable energy and increases its share in the energy mix. The Solar Testing Facility will play an important role in supporting this initiative. DEWA has developed the standards and the guidelines for connecting low and medium voltage Distributed Renewable Resources Generators to its network. It is currently working on an equipment eligibility scheme to ensure compliance with these requirements,” added Al Tayer.

Al Tayer noted that DEWA R&D team is currently engaging in various international initiatives and projects across the world in solar energy. DEWA is seeking participation and leadership in a number of projects in the GCC PV laboratory network and the PV Quality Assurance Task Force. TÜV Rheinland developed a training programme for DEWA staff in different phases including implementation, operation, testing and reporting.

“The Testing Facility studies and evaluates the performance, long-term stability and reliability of various PV panels, using the most sophisticated and accurate equipment. The highest standards and techniques of testing, controlling, monitoring, evaluation and reporting are applied. The centre will test solar cell technologies and PV panel technologies and manufacturing for greater flexibility. This centre will also assess other aspects to cope with various weather conditions and the surrounding environment both when PV panels are used in open spaces or integrated into buildings,” said Salman.

The main tasks of the solar testing facility include: dust impact and mitigation models, understanding physical and chemical properties of local dust and surfaces, field tests for novel approaches, understanding the effects of soiling, module lifetime models, endurance tests, analysis of activation energy for field defects, reliability and quality models, field failure or degradation prediction correlation with current accelerated tests, development of novel accelerated tests customised for Dubai’s climate, and technological assessment of performance.

The Testing Centre has several sections including a measurement room, control room, and offices. A test site has four racks of PV modules in rows, each tilted differently to simulate all installation conditions and designs. Data is displayed in parallel as per remote transfer to DEWA offices or to the control room at TÜV in Cologne, where detailed analysis of the data will be carried out.

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