There has been a growing interest in renewables in the UAE, says expert

The price of solar technology has decreased significantly in the last five years.

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Anne Le Guennec, chief executive officer at Enova.
Anne Le Guennec, chief executive officer at Enova.

Solar retrofit projects are very popular in the UAE region, said Anne Le Guennec, chief executive officer at Enova.

Le Guennec was talking to MEP Middle East at the 4th annual RetrofitTech Dubai Summit held on 10-11 April 2018.

She said: "The price of solar technology has decreased significantly in the last five years, but [the prices are] enough to be competitive compared to the price of electricity. This was expected because the willingness to adopt renewable energy was always  there."

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The technology has evolved so much that even during sand storms the dust does not stay on the panels for long and the inclination is such that the operations and maintenance is as easy as possible, said Le Guennec, making it attractive for the Middle East climate.

She added: "Moreover, we have new technologies that make sure that the cleaning is easier. We have automated self-cleaning solar panels."

Enova, a joint-venture created in 2002 between Majid Al Futtaim Ventures and Veolia, provide building energy and facility management services for a wide portfolio of public and private clients.

Le Guennec said that solar retrofits are in great demand in the UAE. She said: "The UAE is a pioneer when it comes to solar retrofits, thanks to Vision 2050. The UAE is leading the way but we can see that the interest is everywhere, for example, in Saudi with Vision 2030, Oman has a regulation in place, and Bahrain too."

MEP Middle East asked Le Guennec on whether glazed buildings in the UAE are an issue when it comes to energy consumption. Le Guennec said that buildings here are well designed. She said: "These buildings are quite new and somehow compared to some older buildings in Europe, they are well isolated. More and more buildings in the UAE are LEED certified. For me, HVAC systems should be properly maintained."

Enova was the first to be certified as an ESCO in 2014 and the first to implement a smart monitoring platform in 2015 to measure in real time the consumption of not only the building but also of a specific equipment. She said: "We have a deep focus on HVAC because it consumes more than 60% electricity in a building. We are focused a lot on different technologies. 

"We have also integrated air quality in our monitoring and it helps in raising awareness. It helps a lot in identifying what can deviate from the normal standards and what needs to be done. This will help the authorities to set the rules and regulations in the future."

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