The United Arab Emirates’ first floating solar power plant will start producing electricity this week and will have a capacity of 80 kilowatts. The project will be located off the island of Nurai in the Arabian Sea.
The region has historically been heavily reliant on revenue from oil and gas production, highlighting the importance of the performance of the pilot facility. All eyes will follow the test case in the hope of creating similar future projects.
Installing and maintaining solar power panels at sea is expensive, costing around three times more than land-based projects, Stefan Muckstein, the chief operating officer of Enerwhere, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
“Dealing with waves and corrosion offshore is obviously a lot more challenging technically than installing solar panels on a roof or flat piece of desert, but for a resort island like Nurai this is still far better than taking up valuable beach real estate which tourists are willing to pay much more for.”Stefan Muckstein, COO, Enerwhere
The project aims to also provide useful information on the benefits of locating solar panels at sea. The cooling effect of the water washing over the panels and reflected light from the surface of the sea could improve their efficiency. Photovoltaic solar projects often suffer from overheating, therefore the floating solar power plant may be a bonus for the Middle East.
In 2019, Dubai’s government-run utility awarded a consultant contract to Germany’s Fichtner Group for a planned floating solar project at an unspecified location.
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