UAE: Now, you can ‘fly’ over Dubai Solar Park

The Innovation Centre is open from 9am to 4pm Saturday to Wednesday, 9am to 12pm on Thursdays and closed during Fridays and public holidays

by

Waheed Abbas

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The world’s tallest solar tower. KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad
The world’s tallest solar tower. KT Photos: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Sat 16 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sat 16 Dec 2023, 10:47 PM

Be it hospitality, aviation or any other field of life, experiences are getting quite popular, rather than people spending on products. This trend is quite dominant, especially among the Gen-Z.

In this age of technology when artificial intelligence, virtual reality and metaverse are revolutionising the experiences, Dubai entities are also embracing new technologies to improve visitor experiences.

Metaverse is revolutionising the way people use the internet and seek experiences. This new technology is being used by hospitals, hotels and many other enterprises in Dubai.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has introduced a metaverse experience at its Innovation Centre in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park where visitors can fly over the Park – virtually.

The six phases of the world’s largest single-site solar park cover 127 square kilometres with 8 million photovoltaic (PV) panels generating clean electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes in the emirate.

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On the third floor of the Innovation Centre, visitors can enjoy this mesmerising metaverse experience of flying over the MBR Solar Park to make it more engaging and interactive for visitors.

The Centre also has a hologram show that gives insight into the journey of Dubai's Clean Energy Strategy.

The Innovation Centre.
The Innovation Centre.

The Innovation Centre is open from 9am to 4pm Saturday to Wednesday, 9am to 12pm on Thursdays and closed during Fridays and public holidays. The visitors can book tickets online with admission priced at Dh50 for adults and Dh30 for children up to 18. The hologram show and metaverse experience cost Dh30 each.

The Innovation Centre has an exhibition area that takes the visitors on a journey from the history of Dewa to understanding the current solar and clean technologies and the way forward to the future.

World’s tallest solar tower

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park also features the world’s tallest solar tower, which is surrounded by 70,000 mirrors, which directly reflect the sunlight to the tower, giving the feel and look of a true sci-fi movie.

The project design.
The project design.

The mirrors direct all the heat of the sun towards the top of the Central Tower to create 100 MW of green energy. With a height is 264-metre, the world’s tallest concentrated solar power plant now holds the Guinness World Record. With the help of molten salt, steam turbines and other heating technologies, electricity is generated for the residents through the record-holding tower.

One of the main challenges engineers faced was lifting the molten salt to the top of the tower and it took the engineering team 5 continuous days without a break to achieve the milestone.

The solar panels.
The solar panels.

Largest thermal solar energy storage plant

Phase IV of the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park is also home to the world’s largest thermal solar energy storage plant with a capacity of 3,599MWth. The plant works based on molten salt technology.

Noor Energy 1

In 2018, work started on Noor Energy 1, which is the fourth phase of the MBR Solar Park. It generates 700 MW from CSP and 250 MW from PV mode. The Noor Energy 1 project received two Guinness World Records for its tallest solar tower and largest thermal energy storage plants. The project is spread over 44 square kilometres, which is equivalent to 6,200 football fields. A total of 54 million cubic metres of sand was removed to install the panels. Covid-19 landed in the middle of the construction project, but the work was not stopped even for a single day.

The solar panels.
The solar panels.

Key milestones in the path to net zero

2021:

>> No new unabated coal plants approved for developments

>> No new oil and gas fields approved for development

>> No new coal mines or mine extensions

2025:

>> No new sales of fossil fuel boilers

2030:

>> All new buildings are zero carbon ready

>> 60% of global car sales are electric

>> Most new clean technologies in heavy industry demonstrated at scale

>> 1,020 GW annual solar and wind additions

>> Phase-out of unabated coal in advanced economics

2030:

>> Most appliances and cooling systems sold are best-in-class

>> 50% of heavy truck sales are electric

>> No new ICE car sales

>> All industrial electric motor sales are best-in-class

>> Overall net zero emission electricity in advanced economies

2040:

>> 50% of existing buildings retrofitted to zero carbon-ready levels

>> 50% of fuel used in aviation is low-emission

>> Net zero-emission electricity globally

>> Phase-out of all unabated coal and all power plants

2045:

>> 50% of heating demand met by heat pumps

2050:

>> Over 85% of buildings are zero carbon ready

>> Over 90% of heavy industrial production is low-emission

>> Nearly 70% of electricity generation globally from solar PV and wind

Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park’s clean energy:

  • Phase 1 produces 13MW
  • Phase II produces 200MW
  • Phase III produces 800MW
  • Phase IV produces 950MW
  • Phase V produces 900MW
  • Phase VI to produce 1,800 MW – under construction

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