UAE uses AI to map its solar potential


The UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi launched on Saturday the Artificial Intelligence Lab, a newly created research center aimed at mapping the Emirates’ major areas of solar PV locations.

In a press release, the ministry said the new laboratory will perform three main tasks: (i) real time mapping of solar PV locations in the UAE; (ii) develop solar simulation systems, providing real time environmental monitoring and forecasting; and (iii) create a marine environment monitoring system.

The laboratory is being set up with the support of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The researchers will use artificial intelligence techniques to identify concentrated solar energy locations, and monitor and analyze levels and sources of air pollutants in the country. More details on the kind of technologies that will be utilized, however, were not provided.

“The laboratory aims to protect the local environment by monitoring and analyzing the available information accurately and using it in making the right decisions, based on the latest available global technologies, which play a pivotal role in the environmental sector, especially in the fields of monitoring, data analysis, communications and information storage and retrieval,” said Al Zeyoudi.

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Of the seven Emirates comprising the federation, only Dubai and Abu Dhabi have developed serious plans for solar energy development to date, in an effort to diversify their economies and energy matrix.

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have a net metering scheme for rooftop PV in place, and are also building huge solar parks. Dubai currently has a 1 GW solar park under construction, while Abu Dhabi is seeing the construction of a 1.17 GW solar plant by JinkoSolar, Marubeni and ADWEA.

Abu Dhabi aims to achieve 7% of its total power output from clean energy sources by 2020, 25% by 2030, and 75% by 2050. As for Dubai, it aims to meet 75% of its total electricity demand from clean energy sources by 2050.

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