Latest reports estimate nearly USD 1.17 trillion worth of construction projects across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over the next decade, further increasing the demand for energy which is already growing at between seven and eight per cent per annum.
    
Solar is emerging as a sustainable key power source to meet these supply challenges. Studies have shown that the installation of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) in a typical residential home can provide an average electricity surplus of 25,000 kilowatt hours per year, after meeting electricity needs, and reduce household energy bills by at least 25 per cent.
    
"Awareness of the need to develop green buildings and sustainable environments in the UAE is rapidly increasing, and there are concerted efforts across the entire supply chain to promote green building practices. Integrating solar panels to produce energy for hot water, HVAC systems and electricity is a key step in making buildings more sustainable," Adnan Sharafi, chairman of Emirates Green Building Council said in a statement.
    
"With the UAE expecting a 71 per cent increase in primary energy demand by 2019 and the total energy spend set to be over USD 926 million, adapting solar energy in the total energy mix of buildings is a significant way forward," Sharafi said.
    
Residential developers in Gulf countries are exploring ways to utilize clean energy and new technologies in their construction projects in support of the sustainability commitments shown by governments across the region.
    
"Emaar's focus on enhancing energy efficiency is highlighted in the development of Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, which leverages the potential offered by solar power. For example, a bulk of the water heating requirements for residents is met through solar energy.
    
"We will continue to explore new opportunities for promoting energy and water efficiency among our communities and support the UAE's sustainable development goals," said Ahmed Al Matrooshi, managing director, Emaar Properties.
    
Solar power innovation and investment was a major feature at this year's World Future Energy Summit (WFES), with some of the largest solar companies in the world exhibiting their latest technologies including First Solar, SunTech, Canadian
Solar, Solar World and Sunpower.

(Agencies)

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