Clean Power

Published on December 10th, 2015 | by Jake Richardson


Rooftop Solar Power To Be Mandatory In Dubai By 2030

December 10th, 2015 by  

The political leader of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, recently announced the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which includes a number of renewable energy targets. Perhaps most notable is that all rooftops in the city will have solar panels by 2030. Some might say, however, it’s the goal of solar generating 75% of the city’s energy by 2050 that is more remarkable. On the way to achieving this goal is the requirement that 25% is generated by solar by 2030.

Others might say the biggest story is the low-interest financing for clean energy that will be available because of a $27 billion investment to create the Dubai Green Fund. The size of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project has also been increased to 5,000 MW by 2030.


“The strategy we are launching today will shape the energy sector over the next three decades. Our goal is to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” explained Sheikh Mohammed. Most of Dubai’s electricity currently is generated by burning natural gas.

The United Arab Emirates has about one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves, so it is very striking that such an emphasis would be placed on the growth of new solar power. Dubai has about 4 billion gallons of oil reserves and a population of approximately 2.1 million. The UAE’s population is 9.3 million.

It is very commendable to set such large, yet achievable, renewable energy goals. In a sense, vigorously supporting clean, renewable energy seems to mesh well with Dubai’s ethos, which seems to be “building rapidly and in an impressive fashion.”

Of course, increasingly, solar power makes sense economically as well as environmentally. “When you have vast amounts of open land and an incredible solar resource like these countries do, the underlying structural driver is to conserve oil and gas for export and produce power from other alternative sources, even in the context of recent declines in commodity prices,” explained Stephen J. Auton-Smith, director at Ernst & Young.

Energy storage wasn’t mentioned, but it often makes sense to add battery systems to fill in gaps in electricity production.

Image Credit: Imre Solt, Wiki Commons

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  • ROBwithaB

    As a political statement, this carries some weight.
    But not sure about the practical benefits in a state that has some of the tallest buildings in the world. Terrible ratios of roof space to occupied space. And it’s a reasonably compact city, with big chunks of desert right on the doorstep.
    Surely it would make a lot more sense to just throw up utility-scale plants a few kilometres out of town?
    (Could even arrange them into interesting shapes like palm trees and continents and get tourists to pay for the privilege of taking photos. Because apparently tourists are really stupid that way.)

    • Sans Comedy

      I think we’ll be seeing increased interest and research into transparent solar panels that can be used as windows in the next five years. They already exist as prototypes, though they’re not very efficient yet. Even so, imagine how much power Burj Dubai would generate if it was a gigantic solar shard!

  • JamesWimberley

    ” often makes sense to add battery systems to fill in gaps in electricity production.” Not with natural gas at Dubai prices, using existing plants. It’s entirely rational for them to concentrate on ramping up solar till it meets the daytime a/c load, and wait for others to bring down the price of storage.

    Any news of Saudi Arabia’s huge vapourware solar “projects”?

    • Haven’t heard from S Arabia in ages. Curious if it’ll make an announcement in January during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. Is a big week for that region especially and often accompanied by announcements from countries and companies in the region. We’ll see.

      • Bubba Nicholson

        Price of oil went down, so low priority stuff doesn’t get funded.

  • tibi stibi

    2030 why so late???

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