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Dubai: Trackers to boost production by 30% at Solar Park

The technology uses machine learning and advanced sensors to maximise performance



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 19 Feb 2022, 5:33 PM

The latest solar tracking technology deployed at Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will boost production capacity by up to 30 per cent, a top official associated with the project said.

The 900MW fifth phase of the solar park uses photovoltaic bifacial technology, which allows solar radiation to reach the front and back of the panels, thereby collecting sunlight from both sides instead of one. This combined with new software that integrates artificial intelligence and machine learning, enables panels to harvest more energy by solving for shading and diffused light conditions that can reduce energy production.

“Innovation in algorithmic solar tracking systems and machine learning software enable solar panels to literally follow the sun and optimise performance,” Hans Sauter, vice-president (Mena), Nextracker – the project’s solar tracking technology and solution provider, told Khaleej Times.

The technology known as TrueCapture, uses machine learning and advanced sensors to maximise performance for efficient energy capture, storage and transmission. TrueCapture complements additional yield generation from ground-reflected light on the rear of the bifacial solar panels.

“These innovations have helped new solar plants achieve up to 99 per cent efficiency ratings, with machine learning accounting for an increase in efficiency of up to 6 per cent.”

Sauter noted the increase in efficiency has directly correlated to a dramatic decrease in the cost of energy production.

“In the past 5 years, innovation in technology, plant design and storage has driven the cost of solar from $0.05 to $0.0135 per kilowatt-hour. That’s nearly 75 per cent reduction in energy production costs and a fraction the cost of fossil power production.”

Implemented by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) using the Independent Power Producer (IPP) model, the solar park is the largest single-site solar park in the world with a planned total capacity of 5,000MW by 2030. The fifth phase is projected to provide clean energy to over 270,000 residences in Dubai. Sauter noted that the gains made by the use of innovative technology will be enough to power more than 96,000 additional houses.

“The addition of Nextracker’s technology to phase five of the park will boost its production by 20 to 30 per cent more than a fixed tilt installation, and a further 1.02 per cent gain over competitors’ tracking solutions. This gain delivered by Nextracker is enough to power 96,060 additional Dubai residences,” said Sauter, making a comparison with immobile single-panel PV modules.

Also, featured in the fifth phase is Nextracker’s robotic cleaning systems, which ensures maximum performance of the plant.

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Nextracker opened its regional headquarters in Dubai this year and currently has approximately 3GW of solar power production under fulfillment or operational in the Middle East, Turkey and India and is expanding in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and across the region.

“Today solar energy represents 94 per cent of the current installed capacity of renewable energy across all GCC countries, with most of that coming from large utility-scale solar PV projects. Solar also represents 91 per cent of the potential power generation currently in the pipeline in the GCC,” he added.


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