The United Arab Emirates attaches great importance to diversifying its energy mix. This is based on a vision that recognises the significance of renewable energy to preserve the rights of future generations to live in a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The wise leadership is committed to launching pioneering clean and renewable energy projects that contribute to consolidating sustainability with its economic, social, and environmental aspects. At Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), we work through different means to achieve the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. This includes leading renewable and clean energy projects, enhancing energy efficiency, and launching initiatives to rationalise power and water use, reducing carbon emissions, encouraging society to generate electricity from solar power in buildings and use electric vehicles, as well as other initiatives and programmes to reduce the carbon footprint and promote the transition to a green economy in Dubai.
Dewa is developing the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai into the largest single-site solar park in the world, with a capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030 and investments totalling Dh50 billion. The project supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 75 per cent of Dubai's total power output from clean energy by 2050. When completed, the solar park will contribute to reducing over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually; supporting the Government of Dubai's carbon emission reduction targets.
Clean energy initiatives in Dubai are not limited to the major projects that Dewa is implementing. Dewa aims to involve Dubai's residents in the production of clean energy through its Shams Dubai initiative. Shams Dubai enables building owners to install photovoltaic panels to produce electricity from solar power and connect them to the power grid. The generated electricity is used on-site and the surplus is exported to Dewa's grid. An offset between exported and imported electricity units is conducted and the customer account is settled based on this offset. Dubai aims to have solar panels installed on the roofs of all buildings by 2030. Shams Dubai has been very successful. By the end of 2019, a total of 5,620 sites were connected to Dewa's grid with a total capacity of 164.2MW. Dewa received applications for a total of 523MW.
Installation of solar panels on rooftops of buildings and houses through Shams Dubai is a long-term investment. In addition to reducing electricity bills and increasing property values, installing solar systems decreases carbon footprint and protects the environment and our resources for future generations. Clean energy and other sustainable green projects have contributed to reducing CO2 emissions in Dubai by 19 per cent when compared to the business as usual (BAU) scenario, two years ahead of the targeted date in the Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy 2021 to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021. DEWA also ensured a global achievement as Dubai received the Platinum Rating in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Cities certification awarded by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
Installing photovoltaic solar systems in our homes, organisations, and factories is an important step in har-nessing the power of the sun that God has granted us all year round. This transforms energy consumers into producers and will achieve the vision of the wise leadership to diversify energy sources within the concept of the smart and happy city. This will ensure a sustainable future, for generations to come.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer is the MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa)