World’s first date factory to run on solar power in Dubai

World’s first date factory to run on solar power in Dubai
Published: 3 May 2018 - 7:14 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena Power Systems, one of the region’s leading clean energy companies, has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to install a 1 megawatt peak (MWp) rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system to power the Al Barakah Dates Factory.

The facility, located in Dubai Industrial Park, will be the first of its kind to run on solar power.

Under the 20-year PPA terms, Enviromena will install 3,220 solar PV panels on the 10,000-square meter building, offsetting 100 percent of the current electricity needs by producing more power during the day.

The system will result in AED10 million in savings as well as 882 tons of carbon dioxide emissions (equivalent to removing nearly 200 vehicles from the road).

“The UAE is one of the leading date supplier as well as an emerging leader in solar power. We want to help support local industries with a sustainable and economic solution, and along with Al Barakah, we are strengthening both sectors,” said Sami Khoreibi, chief executive of Enviromena.

The UAE is one of the leading growers of dates worldwide, and Al Barakah is the largest privately owned date factory in the region. The company processes over 60,000 dates tons of dates per annum into various end-products and exports to over 54 countries around the world.

The Dubai facility also manufactures date syrup which is used as a natural sweetener replacing processed sugar for items such as ketchup and barbecue sauce, according to Yousuf Saleem, chief executive of Al Barakah.

“We also make date paste which goes into energy and snack bars, which does require a lot of energy to produce heat. We also need to store dates which are harvested only once a year, requiring energy-intensive refrigeration,” said Saleem.

“Our monthly electricity and water bills average thousands of dirhams, which is one of our biggest costs. The opportunity to slash that monthly expenditure while being more environmentally friendly was a no-brainer.”

Al Barakah will increase the size of its factory to expand output and offerings, and will work with Enviromena on the building’s design to incorporate solar panels into the new structure.

UAE-based Enviromena Power Systems is one of the leading clean energy companies spanning nine countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region.

Enviromena has more than 175 megawatts (MW) of solar power plants under operation with another 500MW under construction.

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