by Zoe Sinclair, Dubai, 25 October 2008
The Middle East’s largest photo-voltaic manufacturing plant will be set up in Dubai’s Technopark, it was announced on Friday evening at the opening of Green Dubai World Forum 2008. The construction of the plant will begin next month and production is expected to start in the last quarter of 2010.
The forum, held at Atlantis, The Palm, commemorates the declaration of Green Dubai 2008 last year by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The declaration included the announcement of green building legislation in the UAE, the first of its kind in the world, which is being implemented in new buildings from the start of 2008, and the beginning of Dubai’s objective of a pioneering role in sustainable development.
Dubai World Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem unveiled the plans for the one-million-square-foot photo-voltaic manufacturing plant, Solar Technologies FZE. The first phase will see the production of solar panels as big as 5.7sqm. Subsequently, Solar Technologies will establish similar plants in China, Mexico and Bulgaria.
Dilip Rahulan, Chairman and CEO, Solar Technologies FZE, said: “The energy from sunlight striking the Earth for 40 minutes is equivalent to the global energy consumption for a whole year. The mission of Solar Technologies is to accelerate the adoption of solar photo-voltaic by rapidly expanding manufacturing capacity and significantly reducing the cost of solar modules through innovations and manufacturing excellence. We intend to become one of the largest solar photo-voltaic module manufacturing units in the world over a period of time.”
On the occasion, Dubai Municipality Acting Director-General Hussain Nasser Lootah unveiled the municipality’s plans to introduce the “green roof” from next year, which aims to utilise excess water from air-conditioning units. Lootah detailed the department’s plans to study the green performance of buildings and rate their effectiveness, besides conducting awareness programmes. “The challenge will be with the existing buildings, not the ones coming up,” he pointed out.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) Managing Director and CEO, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, outlined the authority’s efforts to conserve resources and to explore alternative energy as well as support to green buildings.
“We have explored alternative energies, namely wind power, solar power and tidal power — we are conducting a feasibility study for other cheaper proven sources of energy,” Al Tayer said. Nobel laureate and former president of South Africa F. W. De Klerk also addressed the delegates in his role as the keynote speaker for the evening and commended Dubai Government for its leadership.
“The greatest obstacle in implementing a renewable energy system is not technology or money, but lack of public awareness. Forward looking thinkers should inspire citizens and their political and scientific leaders about the incredible potential of renewable energy resources.”
The forum will continue today with the attendance of key decision makers from both public and private sectors from around the world.