The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA’s) Research and Development (R&D) Centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has been inaugurated.

The sections and labs of the R&D Centre cover 4,400 square metres and is one of the key projects at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar park in the world based on the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model.

The R&D Centre contributes to building and localising knowledge and expertise with around 70 per cent of the Centre’s staff are Emiratis.

The Centre’s areas of work include solar power; the integration of smart grids; energy efficiency, and water, in addition to Fourth Industrial Revolution applications such as ‘3-D Printing and Additive Manufacturing’ as one of the innovative solutions to produce spare parts for electricity generation, transmission, and distribution divisions.

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The centre has various internal labs and outdoor labs to study the performance and reliability of PV panels. Key internal labs include the Electrical Characterisation Lab, the Mechanical Characterisation Lab, the Materials Characterisation Lab, the Solar Simulator Lab, and the Accelerated Aging Lab. The outdoor labs will be used to test different solar panel technologies and performance, as well as a safe zone for drone testing.

DEWA’s R&D Centre is the only centre in the UAE that focuses on renewable energy, smart grid technologies and energy efficiency and has the largest and most comprehensive solar testing and certification facility in the UAE. Furthermore, it operates the longest continuous testing of photovoltaic panels in the UAE in desert climate conditions.

The Centre has 37 male and female researchers, 20 of whom are PhD and MSc holders. The team has published over 40 papers in international conferences and magazines.

“We are committed to anticipating and shaping the future of energy and water. We include innovation in all our strategies and initiatives, to support the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which aims to strengthen the UAE’s position as a global hub for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to increase its contribution to the national economy by means of advancing innovation and future technologies; the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, to develop an integrated system that employs AI in vital areas of the UAE, as well as the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to generate 75 per cent of Dubai’s total power output from clean energy sources by 2050,” said Al Tayer.

The R&D Centre received a Platinum Rating for green buildings from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the US Green Building Council.

The Centre has PV panels installed on its roof and car park, as well as Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) in its walls. The building reduces energy consumption by over 25 per cent and saves more than 50 per cent water. The percentage of recycled materials is more than 30 per cent.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council; and HE Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, attended the event. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, and senior officials from both the public and private sectors were also present.

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