Siemens, Masdar join hands to develop solar-powered solutions for ME

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masdar solar panels
An array of solar panels at a site operated by Masdar near Abu Dhabi, UAE. Photo – Bikyamasr.com

UAE is finally making the most of its sun-drenched land. The country is moving ahead to develop new technology to feed its growing energy needs. The initiative is aimed at developing real solar-powered solutions for everyday living.

Siemens and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology have inked a one-year deal in solar energy technology research and development to enhance the use of photovoltaic (PV) panels in the Middle East region. Joint activities include investigation of the properties of solar panel coatings.

The surface of the PV panels is constantly in contact with dust, sand and other forms of soiling. Under the agreement, Siemens and Masdar will develop modules for PV that requires less water for cleaning. The joint effort will also explore commercial applications for solar technology in the Middle East region.

Siemens, a global leader in sustainable energy management, is supporting sustainable energy concepts such as wind energy, photovoltaic, electromobility and smart buildings, infrastructures and industry.

Both Siemens and Masdar Institute have been working independently on solar energy R&D in the past, Martin Pfund, CEO of Siemens Energy Photovoltaic business unit, said. With the current agreement, the aim is to develop cost efficient panels that are less soiled and easy to clean,” he added.

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is the world’s first graduate-level university dedicated to providing real-world solutions to issues of sustainability. The Institute’s goal is to become a world-class research-driven graduate-level university, focusing on advanced energy and sustainable technologies.

Located in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Masdar Institute aims to support Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification by nurturing highly-skilled human and intellectual capital and partnering with industry leaders transforming the economy to one based on knowledge and enhance the position of Abu Dhabi as a leader in global energy.

The Institute, which was created in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.

RENEWABLES

Solar power is a variable energy source that is dependent on the sun. At times these facilities may not produce any power at all, which could lead to an energy shortage if too much of a region’s power comes from solar power.

PV cells are made up of semi-conducting material such as silicon. When light ray falls on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers. The stronger the sunshine, the more electricity generated.

The power of a PV cell is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp). PV cells are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The cells are arranged in a panel, which can be fitted on top of the roof.

Advantages

  • PV cells use only sunshine to produce electricity. Hence they do not create any air pollution or deplete other natural resources
  • The PV cells do not make any noise and produce clean electricity
  • PV cells can be mounted on rooftops or any other unused space where there is ample sunlight
  • PV cells are used to power satellites that encircle the earth
  • Solar energy is an easily available renewable resource. It need not be transported from any region to another

Disadvantages

  • Toxic chemicals are used in PV production. However, environmental impacts are at a minimum and are recycled for further use.
  • PV devices are costlier than conventional devices that produce electricity. However, once the conversion efficiencies of the equipment increase, the manufacturing costs continue to come down, PV will become increasingly cost competitive with conventional fuels.

Sources: masdar.ac.ae, electroiq.com, ameinfo.com

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