What made you decide to enter the renewable energy sector?
LAURENT LONGUET Our investment in the green economy, particularly solar, was driven by the attractive opportunities it presents and the important and positive role it can play in preserving the environment. The idea of infrastructure investment was also interesting to us because it is complicated and long term, and provides predictable cash flow. This led to the establishment of SirajPower and the official launch of our operations in Dubai in 2016. Solar can be used in different forms: commercial, industrial, and residential, as well as extremely large solar power plants. Moreover, the production capacity can be quickly increased by just adding additional panels. Therefore, solar energy offers a safe, affordable, and sustainable solution to generate power on a large scale. There's huge potential and our ambition is to become the green champion in the market and change the way the region is powered.
DANIEL ZYWIETZ Most do not know that there are more than 1,000MW of diesel generators running in the UAE, producing perhaps 2-3% of the electricity used in the country. From an emissions and cost perspective, diesel generators could represent up to 10% of costs and emissions from the power sector. The majority of the users are in the construction, oil and gas, and real estate sectors. Many want a grid connection but are forced to run diesel generators for a period of time, which can be anywhere from three months to several years. We are successful in this area due to the innovative technology we offer. We combine solar and battery equipment that can be synchronized with conventional generators with data analytics and energy efficiency measures to provide off-grid or temporary power that is cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable than diesel generators alone. There is a great deal of opportunity in Dubai for those who can innovate and provide cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions.
How competitive is the solar energy industry?
LL Solar is particularly relevant in the UAE, as it is abundant and the technology is extremely competitive. There are now also many technologies available that could mitigate the fact that solar energy production is intermittent. We welcome all initiatives taken in this direction, such as the water storage dam project being developed by DEWA, as well as the battery storage initiatives being developed in Abu Dhabi. We are confident the private sector can significantly contribute to increasing investment in solar through distributed energy production. It is clearly gaining momentum in the whole region. In the UAE, especially in Dubai, the leadership has been bold and clear by setting ambitious targets and taking effective actions. In this regard, DEWA has been instrumental in taking this commitment and translating it into actions. Thanks to them, when it comes to distributed generation, Dubai was the first market in the region to develop it.
How are innovations in technology assisting Enerwhere's operations?
DZ The innovation areas are fairly diverse, with a great deal of data and data analytics. Before providing electricity to a customer, we first need to understand what they need. Most who run a diesel generator do not measure their electricity consumption. We have spent a great deal of time, effort, and resources to develop data analysis and data acquisition packages that allow us to measure a potential customer's consumption in high-resolution, which is crucial to proposing an efficient and reliable power solution. In another innovation area, we have hundreds of thousands of square meters of panels that get covered in dust and need to be cleaned every week. We recently started to deploy cleaning robots, which dramatically reduce labor requirements and increase operational efficiency. All these efforts benefit from the funding we have raised, even though we could always use more.