First floating solar in the Middle East set for commissioning

The small resort island of Nurai in Abu Dhabi looks set to commission what will be the Middle East’s first floating solar plant, with Dubai-based solar developer Enerwhere ready to bring it online.

Reports indicate that the 80kW facility is the pilot phase, or test-bed for similar plants in the region.

Setup for the project is complete on Nurai, with commissioning said to take place soon. Since 2016, the island has drawn power from a solar-hybrid mini-grid installed by Enerwhere, and the new plant is being hailed as one of the world’s first floating solar installations in an offshore, salt-water location.

On commissioning, it will supply power to the Zaya Nurai Resort.

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Enerwhere has engaged with Dubai-based marine products company Ecocoast, which will provide its Ecomoor mooring system as part of the flotation system for the floating solar plant.

Feras Shadid, Head of the Off-grid Division at Enerwhere told news site Gulf News: “We wanted to build solar systems on the island without jeopardising the beach space that many tourists enjoy. Our solution was utilising the sea, which we have in abundance. Floating solar plants are complex as there are many integral factors such as the dimensions of the structure and the availability of a connection point. The project is expected to be commissioned on Monday or during the coming few days.

“Abu Dhabi has around 150 islands that could benefit from floating renewable energy solutions,” Shadid added. “We need to cater to the needs of those islands. Our next target as well is the World Islands in Dubai. These places primarily use diesel and we hope that through the success of our project in Nurai Island, we can promote more sustainable options for those islands. Considering that we are a UAE-based company, we do ensure that our projects begin locally, however we do have aspirations to take this project to the Maldives and Seychelles as well.”

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