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Abu Dhabi swapping oil for solar

Oilfield Technology,

As preparation for the Solar Roof Programme in Abu Dhabi, employees of the local power company ADDC (Abu Dhabi Distribution Company) undertook training in photovoltaics last week at the Berlin-based Renewables Academy (RENAC). The curriculum included topics such as system design, installation, maintenance, monitoring, and network integration. "The workshop was really helpful in skilling our engineers to meet the challenges of the Solar Roof Programme, particularly because of its blended mix between theory and practical hands-on training", said Jürgen Beigel, Senior Project Manager for Abu Dhabi's Solar Roof Programme.

Electricity generation from solar energy and its subsequent feed into the public grid network is comparatively new to Abu Dhabi and ADDC. So as to encourage the growth of solar electricity in Abu Dhabi, a new incentive regime will be set up soon. In the run up to this new legislation, the government wants to gain initial experiences through the Solar Roof Program of Abu Dhabi, a 500 MW pilot project. ADDC has been commissioned with the implementation of this pilot project.

The aim of the Solar Roof Programme is to provide a financial incentive to make the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) on rooftops more affordable to Abu Dhabi consumers. It will hopefully trigger the implementation, ownership and operation of PV installations by private individuals, companies and other entities. Customers will be given rebate payments based on a feed in tariff on the energy they feed back into the system.

Although the region has very high levels of solar radiation, it also suffers from high humidity, and abundant dust and sand, which could potentially pose a problem to solar power generation. In the pilot project different PV systems will be tested in order to determine the optimal plant size, selection of components and the installation angle under local conditions. The ADDC engineers will monitor the installation and undertake the connection to the grid.

According to the Solar Roof Programme Manager Mohamed Al Attas, the solar roof programme is a further step to reach the targets of UAE and Abu Dhabi. The long-term targets of UAE are a 7% share of renewable energies in UAE 2020 and increasing revenues from renewable energy business. Another important goal is to create local content regarding know-how, skills and qualification, intellectual property and setting up industries.

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