Dubai Airports has taken a step towards sustainability with the installation of the Middle East’s largest airport solar energy system.

The 15,000 solar panels are located at DXB’s Terminal 2 and were installed in partnership with Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO). With a capacity of 5MWp, the project will generate nearly 7.5 billion kWh of energy annually for Dubai Airports, resulting in savings worth AED3.3 million (more than £720,000) per year.

It will also cut CO2 emissions by 3,243 metric tonnes, which Dubai Airports says is equivalent to 53,617 tree seedlings grown for ten years, or 688 passenger vehicles driven for one year.

The solar project is part of Shams Dubai, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s first initiative aimed at promoting the use of clean, renewable energy sources. The programme encourages the installation of solar panels on rooftops for electricity generation. Etihad ESCO will provide maintenance services on the airport’s panels for seven years.

Michael Ibbitson, EVP of infrastructure and technology at Dubai Airports, said: “Dubai Airports has undertaken a variety of green initiatives over the past several years to limit our carbon footprint and support Dubai’s goal for a 30 per cent reduction in the city’s energy consumption by 2030. These include the use of energy-efficient fittings, the optimisation of cooling systems, the installation of energy-efficient LED bulbs and many others.

“In addition to enabling us to limit our carbon footprint while cutting costs, these initiatives also support our long-term vision for a carbon-neutral future in line with the aviation industry’s target. We look forward to working on more energy efficiency initiatives with Etihad ESCO in the future.”

Ali Al Jassim, CEO of Etihad ESCO, commented: “Our partnership with Dubai Airports for the installation of photovoltaic solar panels gives us an opportunity to play a role in Dubai Airports’ vision for energy efficiency and development. Furthermore, this also marks an extension of an existing partnership between Dubai Airports and Etihad ESCO, which goes back to October 2017 when we signed an agreement for the retrofitting of DXB’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to enhance energy efficiency and cut down water and electricity consumption by 20 per cent. This once again underscores the role of joint efforts in achieving Dubai’s sustainability goals.”

In May 2018, Dubai Airports installed cloud-based information screens at both hubs, which it said reduced energy consumption and operational costs.

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