Abu Dhabi-based clean energy company Enviromena Power Systems will help build the world’s first date factory to run on solar power.
The company 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, which will be located in Dubai Industrial Park.
Under the 20-year PPA terms, Enviromena will install 3,220 solar PV panels on the 10,000m2 building, offsetting 100% of the current electricity needs by producing more power during the day.
The system will result in $2.7m (AED10m) in savings as well as 882 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or the equivalent to removing nearly 200 vehicles from the road.
Sami Khoreibi, chief executive of Enviromena, said: “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.”
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,” Mr Saleem said.
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.
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 more 60,000 dates tons of dates per annum into various end-products and exports to over 54 countries around the world.