Key Solar Projects and Programmes in Dubai

UAE: ideally located for solar energy

The location of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai within the Sunbelt highlights solar energy’s major role as a renewable source of energy. In Dubai, available global irradiation usable by photovoltaic (PV) technology averages 2,150 kWh/m2/y (kilowatt hours per square metres per year) and the direct part of the irradiation (DNI) which is used by Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is about 1,850 kWh/m2/y. These figures mean the solar energy is an optimum energy source in Dubai.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was announced in January 2012 in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, to enhance the sustainable development of Dubai. It also supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 that aims to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy. The strategy also aims to provide 7% of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020, 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is managing the Solar Park, which is the largest renewable-energy project on a single plot in the world with a planned production capacity of 5000 MW upon completion in 2030. The Solar Park includes:

  • The Solar Power Projects of 5000 MW by 2030
    • First Phase: 13MW launched on 22 October 2013
    • Second Phase: 200MW will be launched in April 2017
    • Third Phase: 800MW will be launched in stages, ending by 2020
    • Future Phases: up to 5000MW by 2030
  • Research & Development (R&D) Centre with a solar testing facility
  • Innovation Centre
  • Educational & Training Centres
  • Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis Project (PVRO)

Innovation Centre

Interactive centre equipped with the latest technologies in renewable and clean energy


  • Further developing national skills in the field of energy
  • Promoting the competitive edge of businesses in Dubai, developing renewable energy technologies, and supporting the region’s energy industry
  • Spreading awareness on climate change and sustainable energy
  • Creating interactive presentations and organizing educational tours for visitors
  • Educating people about solar energy and organizing educational tours for visitors
  • Educating people about solar energy and the Solar Park, and highlighting Dubai’s leading role in the field of sustainability

DEWA Solar Testing Facility

a part of the R&D Centre, includes:

Photovoltaic Solar Testing Facility

This facility concept is for innovative technology demonstrations in renewable energies. Current test program involves 32 module commercial types from more than 20 manufacturers. Operation and maintenance strategies are also in the core of the research topics. The data gathered from tests on these solar panels is also being used to improve their efficiency in the region, given its climate.

CSP Testing Facility

The CSP Testing Facility will study CSP technologies in a desert climate, using 10 units with a total power capacity of 110kW.

Research & Development Centre (R&D)

The Centre of Excellence for Innovative Research in Energy & Water aims to shape a Sustainable World-Class Utility


  • Conducting studies to meet industrial and social requirements
  • Leading regional efforts for scientific research on renewable energy
  • Serving as a link between researchers and developers
  • Developing formal channels linking universities to local and global research centres
  • Developing output strategies for innovative productive ideas

Research & Development is focusing, among other topics, on the reliability and durability of photovoltaic solar panels for prolonged periods in severe conditions. DEWA’s R&D Team is working on a series of international initiatives to develop cutting-edge research and is participating in other regional programmes as well. A key project has been launched for international collaborations on soiling and dust mitigation on PV equipment. The tests that are currently being performed ill set a baseline for development of specifications, tests and standards for PV equipment in the region.

Shams Dubai Initiative

This leading initiative supports the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the smartest city in the world. It also supports diversifying the energy mix by promoting the use of clean and renewable energy sources to build a sustainable future for the Emirate. Launching the initiative implements council resolution number 46 of 2014, issued by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to regulate the connection of solar energy to Dubai’s power grid.

The initiative encourages household and building owners to install PV panels to generate electricity, and connect them to DEWA’s grid. The electricity is used on site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network.

Solar Decathlon Middle East

Solar Decathlon is an international competition to design smart solar-powered buildings. Universities from around the world take part in the programme that challenges teams to design, build, and operate energy-efficient houses. The winner of the competition will be the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and efficiency. Following the agreement between the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy, DEWA and the US Department of Energy, Dubai will host the Solar Decathlon Middle East in October 2018 and in 2020. All international teams are invited to prepare their projects and proposals under the theme of sustainable living in the Middle East.

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