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Dubai schools to mount rooftop solar panels

Dubai Solar Schools, a new green-energy initiative rolled out on Monday, is targeting 50 schools as potential hosts for rooftop solar panels as part of the Shams Dubai Initative to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Schools will draw energy from the photovoltaic panels and surplus energy will be diverted to the Dubai power grid as prescribed under the Shams Dubai plan to increase clean energy from solar power, reported Gulf News.

The long view of the initiative suggests that subscribing schools could reduce their monthly electricity bills to virtually zero after a capital payback period of seven years or, alternatively, they can lease solar panels from a third party for reduced savings.

David Provenzani, managing director of Architaly Green Energy DMCC, told a press conference that in partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and the Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) a preliminary feasibility study is now under way to examine the potential of rooftop panels on more than four dozen schools.

”The project is expected to reach up to 50 megawatts solar power plants and will be executed within the next three years,” he said.

Ten schools have already pledged to join Dubai Solar Schools.

Provenzani said consultants are crunching the study numbers over the next two months and will submit a Shams Dubai proposal to Dewa for approval before schools agree to fully sign on to the clean energy project.

Projections show that, on average, if 100 schools installed solar rooftop panels, as much as 50MW of emission-free green power could be added to the electricity generation capacity of the emirate, Provenzani said.

The schools project meets the Dubai Clean Energy Plan 2050 which aims to provide 75 per cent of the emirate’s energy from solar sources, by 2050, said Provenzani.

Photovoltaic panels would also instil a sense of environmental stewardship in students who benefit from their schools being powered by the sun’s rays, said organisers.

“The main focus is not only on solar energy, we’re trying to change our mindset,” Provenzani said, noting the objective mirrors Dubai’s clean energy vision. “The vision will only be accomplished if we do daily actions to make the dream possible.”

He lauded Dubai’s vision for creating new regulations that welcome and encourage the quest for clean renewable energy such as solar.

Abdullah Bin Eisa Al Serkal, founder and director of SMCCU, said on Monday he was a full supporter of the Dubai Solar Schools project given its immense potential for educating students.

Al Serkal praised the project because it “connects students to important issues”.

The cultural centre, he said, will launch a cultural competition for students at the Dewa Dubai Solar Show running from October 4-6 to encourage students to “imagine the future Dubai as a solar city by taking inspiration from the past forms of renewable energy”.

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