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ALEC Energy secures contract to install solar panels on Dh1.2 billion new DEWA head office

June 1, 2021

Dubai, UAE: ALEC Energy, a subsidiary of Alec Engineering and Construction, has won the contract to provide a solar photovoltaic solution for the Dh1.2 billion new headquarters of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), currently being constructed in the Al Jaddaf area of Dubai.

DEWA previously awarded the first phase of construction, worth Dh46 million, to Dutco Balfour Beatty. It awarded the construction contract of the second phase to a consortium comprising Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting and Ghantoot Gulf Contracting. The building’s construction total cost is Dh1.2 billion, including the installation of solar and smart systems.

Named ‘Al Shera’a’, the Arabic word for ‘sail’, the built-up-area of the building will cover more than two million square feet over 15 floors, plus basement, and five stories of parking with the capacity to host more than 5,000 people at any given time. Designed to be a Platinum-rated LEED building, Al Shera’a will consume less energy than it generates, hailing in a new era of government buildings.

In order to maximise the solution’s full potential, ALEC Energy provided a multi-tiered solution which includes the delivery of 21,139 square metre of building attached photovoltaic (BAPV) panels on the roof, 1,021 square metres of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels in the façade and 1,923 square metre of podium fins as well as fibre optic collectors, shaded structure PV and solar trees, which collectively will generate 4.8 MWp upon completion, helping to ensure the new headquarters will reach its net zero targets within under a decade.

James Stewart, General Manager of ALEC Energy

James Stewart, general manager of ALEC Energy, said: “Winning this project has been a great endorsement of ALEC Energy’s ability to provide the most innovative, cost-effective solution that not only meets, but exceeds the ambitious net zero targets set by DEWA. In delivering a solution that illustrates DEWA’s commitment to utilising clean energy we are also supporting the government’s high-level targets of reaching a 50% clean energy supply within the next thirty years.

“The most energy efficient solar cells currently available worldwide are used for this project. Accredited laboratories will conduct numerous sophisticated performance tests, quality controls and rigorous durability tests prior to the manufacturing of the the PV panels.  This project and the integrated solar design truly pushes the boundaries of solar power further.”

Working alongside other stakeholders including main contractor, Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting LLC and consultant, ATKINS, ALEC Energy are designing customised, walkable solar panels with a high transparency feature that matches the striking architectural design of the building. DEWA states that the building will be the ‘tallest, largest, and smartest government zero energy building’ in the world.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO, had earlier said, “We work to achieve the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a global center for clean energy and green economy. By building Al-Shera’a, we establish a global benchmark for buildings that achieve a balance between development and the environment, to protect the right of future generations to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment. This supports the UAE Vision 2021 to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world, and the Dubai Plan 2021, to make Dubai the preferred place to live, work, and visit.”

DEWA headquarter is expected to create a global benchmark for buildings that balance development with the environment, to protect the right of future generations to live in a clean, healthy and safe environment. With a built-up area is over 2 million square feet, the building facilities in the building will include a 500-people auditorium, training halls, a creativity centre, an exhibition hall, a nursery for the children of female employees, and a gym, among others. The building will have over 20,000 square metres of photovoltaic solar panels rated to over 4,000 kilowatts. There will be 1,000 square metres of Building Integrated Photovoltaics. The building will generate over 6,500 megawatt hours (MWh) a year of renewable energy.

Al-Shera’a’s design was inspired by the UAE’s traditional houses, where enclosed spaces overlook an open courtyard. The courtyard will be the focal point and most prominent feature of the building. To reduce heat in the open courtyard, the sail design provides shade. Natural light during the day will stream through specific openings in the sail, giving sufficient light without the associated heat. The courtyard will have sustainable gardens. The courtyard will give occupants and visitors an outdoor feeling in an indoor setting. The building will use the latest technologies including the Internet of Things, Big Data and Open Data, Artificial Intelligence, and the latest smart-building management technologies. The building is intended to use 50 percent less water than regular buildings.