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Dutch technology powers Dubai school building

From April 2020 solar and wind energy will power a school building in Dubai’s Sustainable City. The unit used for this, PowerNEST, was designed and built by the Dutch company IBIS Power.

PowerNEST consists of an upright wind turbine with solar panels on top. IBIS Power has installed 86 solar panels and two wind turbines on the roof of the five-storey school building. By combining sun and wind, it can generate up to 34 kilowatts of electricity.

For the pilot, IBIS Power is working together with Diamond Developers. The Dubai partner is the building owner and planner of 500 residential villas in The Sustainable City, situated 35 kilometres from Dubai. Both parties intend to install more units on other existing and new buildings in the newly constructed neighbourhood which is still expanding.

Stabilising power supply

Combining wind and solar energy in one unit makes it possible to stabilise the power supply to the building. Solar panels only generate energy during the day, when the sun is shining. Wind turbines always generate energy, as long as there is wind. As a result, the PowerNEST stabilises the supply of renewable energy to the building it services. 

In the desert, solar panels generate less energy, as storms cover them with sand. During the sandstorm season – from January to May – the wind turbines compensate for this. To prevent overheating, the turbines cool the solar panels.

Opportunities 

Looking at the market in the United Arabic Emirates and the surrounding region, IBIS Power founder Alexander Suma is optimistic: ‘Considering the Dubai government wants 30,000 buildings to be ‘Zero Net Energy’ (ZNE) by 2025, I expect many building owners to be interested in the concept.’

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