The UAE is expected to generate 25% of its electricity from solar energy, with a total solar capacity of 44 GW by 2050. The Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) describes the challenges that the country must meet in order to achieve this goal.
Romain Riche, International Development Director of the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), commented: “Over the past two years, due to the increase in PV module prices, major solar developers have experienced delays in module shipments from China, which slightly delayed flagship projects in the region. Due to the challenges, the country’s cumulative installed capacity is still around 3 .5 GW by the end of 2022, but will soon reach a capacity of 6 GW when the current mega projects in Abu Dhabi (Al Dhafrah 1,500 MW) and Dubai (MBR Solar) are completed.Parking Phase 4 and 5, 950 and 900 MW respectively).
Through programs such as the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to generate 75% of Dubai’s total power capacity from clean energy sources, and the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, the nation has set high goals for the advancement of solar technology. “In the dawn of COP28, which will be held in the country, new events will probably be announced. This year, EWEC will close Al Aljban’s tender to add 1,500 MW of solar power in Abu Dhabi. At the same time, Dubai already gets 14% of its electricity from clean energy sources and DEWA has now launched a tender to increase the sixth phase of the mega solar cluster to 1,800MW,” Rich added.
As for the distributed solar segment, although it has been popular in Dubai thanks to its net metering policy, its development is generally limited. To achieve the UAE Energy Strategy 2050’s ambitious target of 44% clean energy by 2050, accelerated development and updated policies are needed.
Solar growth in the UAE is also hampered by a number of factors, including legal and regulatory concerns, funding constraints, and grid integration limitations. One such challenge is the lack of regulation of the distributed generation (DG) market in the UAE outside the Emirate of Dubal. However, in November 2021, the UAE announced plans to pass a federal law to regulate the connection of decentralized renewable energy generation units to the electricity grid in all seven emirates. This is expected to greatly boost the DG market over the next few years and is estimated to grow by 400-500MW annually once the regulations are in place, compared to around 60-100MW per year currently. This marks a significant leap into the UAE DG market.
In the utility sector, the projects are primarily focused on Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The consolidation of these utility-scale projects will make it difficult for local developers and EPC companies to grow in the field of local electricity scale.
Despite these challenges, the International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that by 2030, the country can produce 25 percent of its electricity with solar energy, and the total solar energy capacity will be 44 GW by 2050, which is very close to its goal. The UAE must continue its efforts to implement laws and programs to support the expansion of solar energy and achieve these goals.
Author: Hinde Liepmannsohn
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Middle East Solar Industry Association – MESIA is the only not-for-profit solar energy association that unites the entire solar industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.