Solar for construction

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Enerwhere Sustainable Energy DMCC, a Dubai-based solar project developer, has built a 540 kW off-grid rooftop PV installation on top of a parking lot at a skyscraper construction site in Dubai.

The plant is hybridized with a diesel-powered microgrid and provides power for the entire construction site, including the site office and heavy applications such as tower cranes, man hoists, and pumps from a centralized power generation hub.

Six Construct, the Middle Eastern subsidiary of Belgian construction giant Besix, is building the 340-meter skyscraper. “The carpark-mounted solar panels serving 180 carpark spots – the largest solar carpark installed on a construction site – serves the dual utilitarian purpose of providing shade as well as clean, renewable energy generation, while also freeing up areas on site which would have been used to install solar panels for other purposes,” Enerwhere said.

Ad hoc model

“Our globally unique business model and technology allow it to provide solar-hybrid power and solar cooling on temporary contracts as short as six months and with zero capital investment from the customer, thereby overcoming the key hurdles holding back solar investment for customers with off-grid power demands,” Yavuz Perk, Enerwhere’s head of procurement, told pv magazine. “We offer these solutions through PPAs, meaning that we take care of the financial burden associated with the high capital requirement of the plants, and customers only pay for the energy they consume. Usually the PPA duration is also the duration of the project, but we tend to sign projects that are six months or longer.”

Perk claims that clients can save between 10 and 20% on electricity costs, depending on the site. “But we generally target at least 10% cost savings to the client and 30% CO2 emissions reduction,” he said.

The systems are dismantled and brought to other construction sites after building projects are completed. Perk said that the business model also includes the possibility of connecting PV systems to the grid, if a network connection is available. For the Dubai project, the PV generator may eventually be connected to Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) electric grid network under the Shams program for net metering.

Enerwhere will install batteries at facilities if excess power would otherwise be wasted. “By doing so, DMCC’s Uptown Tower project will be a one-of-a-kind unique construction site utilizing a solar-diesel-battery hybrid system – the first in the world,” the company stated.