Solar power fails to make business case

The use of solar power in construction is not economically justifiable right now, according to a senior director at Nakheel.

Inclusion of solar panels in a project would have cost Nakheel an extra US $3 million.
Inclusion of solar panels in a project would have cost Nakheel an extra US $3 million.

The use of solar power in construction is not economically justifiable right now, according to a senior director at Nakheel.

Despite billions of dollars being ploughed into renewable energy sources by the Abu Dhabi government and Dubai implementing its own 'green' construction code, the region is still a long way from incorporating solar power in its developments.

Marwan Al Qamzi, managing director, Palm Jebel Ali, said that more investment needs to be made in researching and developing solar power.

"We had a case recently where I wanted solar panels to be used in one of our projects, but after looking into it we discovered that this would have added US $3 million (AED11 million) to our project costs," he said.

"From a business perspective, we can't justify using solar power right now. It is something that we will move towards, but it's not going to happen overnight." Al Qamzi added that the cost of storing power captured from the sun is also high.

The cost of using solar power is so far limited due to the high storage cost of such energy. But we're looking at developing solar power with a German company - there's big potential, especially with the recent adoption of the green code, but we need to find ways of spreading its use.

Tim Askew, managing director of Atkins in the Middle East and India, agreed: "Although it is technically possible, solar power is not a good investment right now, and some of the interface issues are quite big.

But according to Dr Osman Ahmed, head, global resarch innovation-HVP division, Siemens, sustainability will be the driving force of solar power rather than economics.

People are realising that economics isn't going to be the only driving force for green technology," he said. "The focus on sustainability will actually drive this market.

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