Solar Energy Estimation: Khalifa City's Case Study

  • Hasan Alhammami

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The rooftop solar photovoltaic system is being widely used in many countries. Governments provide support and encouragement with successful applications, especially in countries that promote well-designed incentive taxes and feed-in tariff policies. However, it is still challenging to convince residents to implement a solar panel system on their buildings' rooftops in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because the residents' electricity bills from the conventional energy infrastructure are currently subsidized. The notion of introducing a rooftop solar panel system would be valuable to estimate the potential energy in the new developing residential areas in the UAE, where a new rooftop solar system can be installed relatively easily. Therefore, this research aims to conduct a study in order to estimate the potential rooftop solar energy requirement in Zayed city, which is under construction. Also, the sensitivity analysis investigates the economic feasibility of the target system under the current costs and billing structures. This research first analyzes Khalifa city which is adjacent to Zayed City and would have similar urban spatial elements. It then investigates the potential energy from the buildings' rooftops in Khalifa City by applying a suitable energy model with the collected data such as solar irradiation, solar panel specifications, and Khalifa City buildings shapefiles which are analyzed and processed using ArcGIS. Considering five possible scenarios for the utilization rate of the building's rooftop area (i.e., 25%, 30%, 35%, 40%, and 45%), the annual potential energy of those cases have been estimated at 248,985,515; 298,782,495; 348,579,475;398,377,069; and 448,174,049 kWh, respectively. The potential estimated energy would replace up to 19.6% of the current total electricity consumption of each building in Khalifa City, showing efficient energy production potential. Under the current cost structure, the considered rooftop solar system is economically feasible when the electricity rate is 0.305 AED per kWh which is the normal electricity billing rate without subsidy in Abu Dhabi. However, it does not show any financial benefits when the subsidized rates are applied at 0.075 AED per kWh for UAE nationals or 0.067 AED per kWh for social cardholders. This study recommends that the Abu Dhabi government may need to carefully design energy subsidies to promote the decentralized solar system.
    Date of AwardDec 2019
    Original languageAmerican English


    • Solar Energy
    • photovoltaic system.

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