Italian Embassy becomes first to be powered by sun


Italian Embassy becomes first to be powered by sun

Published: Mon 1 Aug 2016, 3:12 PM

Solar projects in Capital
So far, over 30 projects of solar power systems on rooftops have been implemented in Abu Dhabi, with a total capacity of 3.846kW. To put this in perspective, 1kW will power 60 low-energy light bulbs, or two 32-inch plasma TVs.
The Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi is the first diplomatic mission here to use solar power for some of its electricity needs. Last week, the embassy completed the installation of photovoltaic (PV) system on its building's roof and on its car park shades, and also received the licence from the Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB).
According to the embassy's representatives, the solar installations will not be enough to cover the entire electricity needs of the embassy, particularly during the summer, when more air-conditioning is required. The building will partially run on clean power.
The installed solar capacity is 28kWp (kilowatt peak, which stands for peak power, is used to measure the output power achieved by a solar module under full solar radiation). The amount will provide the embassy with an estimated annual electricity generation of 45.36mWh (megawatt hour).
"I am very proud of such a remarkable goal, achieved thanks to the extraordinary cooperation of the RSB and the remarkable support of Enel Green Power, which is in line with the utmost attention paid by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to environmental sustainability," said Liborio Stellino, the Italian Ambassador to the UAE.
Abu Dhabi residents - whether they have a villa or a commercial building - wishing to instal the PV system need a 'self-regulating generation licence' from the RSB. 
Boost for solar power
The RSB recently developed the first regulatory framework that allows for the grid connection of solar systems in Abu Dhabi. This framework comprises of licensing and technical connection requirements.
Solar power is starting to pick up in Abu Dhabi, particularly in remote areas.
"We have requests to instal solar PVs, particularly for farms. Most usage is to power water pumps for irrigation or electricity for external lighting for remote places like safari camps," said Nasser Al Mansoori, engineering and development manager at Handasa, an Abu Dhabi-based company that provides solar systems.
According to him, solar technology has improved greatly, but for this region one issue is the extreme weather.
"Dust is not a major problem, it only reduces the output by 10 to 15 per cent, but high temperature is a big issue, as it can lower the lifetime of the battery for the solar storage by 50 per cent when it is placed outdoors," he explained.
The cost of a PV system has gone down dramatically in recent years and is still on decline. It takes about seven years to offset the cost of installation, which starts at around Dh10,000 for a small building, said Al Mansoori.


Silvia Radan

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