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Top five challenges the Gulf's solar rooftop sector must overcome

by Neha Bhatia on May 4, 2018


Solar rooftop projects are gaining traction in Dubai [representational image].
Solar rooftop projects are gaining traction in Dubai [representational image].
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Awareness and operational efforts are among the key market challenges that regional solar energy stakeholders will have to overcome.

Aref Abou Zahr, executive director of Taqati, says that despite initiatives under way to boost the sector in Dubai, "there is still room for accelerated efforts to further drive adoption of distributed solar" across the Gulf. 

He continues: "Shams Dubai, the emirate’s solar rooftop programme under the Demand Side Management (DSM) Strategy by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has begun to show positive results and is set to witness increased adoption of photovoltaics (PV) on building roofs."

Shams Dubai is based on a net-metering scheme, and allows consumers to connect their PV systems to the DEWA grid to offset their electricity consumption with solar generation. 

 

"The connected solar rooftop capacity [in Dubai] has doubled from 7.3MW in 2016 to 22MW by the end of 2017," Zahr explains. 

"It is indeed a fast-expanding market, and the outlook for 2018 is very promising for the industry. Additional solar rooftop capacity to be connected in 2018 is expected to double the existing connected capacity to date."

READ: Solar retrofits prove functional and cost-efficient

"Though efforts are being initiated from all directions, there is still room for accelerated efforts to further drive adoption of distributed solar," Zahr says.

"To identify the priority areas that need to be addressed to speed up solar rooftop penetration, and to achieve existing market potential, Taqati conducted an in-depth market study covering the solar rooftop value chain."

READ: Dubai Carbon and Innogy to develop rooftop PV projects

Zahr says Taqati identified five market barriers through the study, namely awareness, regulation, financing, economy, and operations. 

In the following pages, Construction Week rounds up Zahr's insights about each of the five factors, and how the challenges may be countered.

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