About Us

Officially launched in April 2012, the Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment has the following stakeholders: UAE Directorate of Energy and Climate Change; Dubai Supreme Council of Energy; and Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi

Interest in renewable resources is rapidly increasing in the Middle East with many of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations lately announcing ambitious and defined renewable energy targets, most of which are to come from solar power.

One of the main challenges facing developers during the planning and design of solar plants in the UAE and the Gulf region is the lack of accurate solar resource assessment. Most of the existing solar irradiance models, developed in other parts of the world with inherently different climate, have performed poorly in the region due to the characteristic attenuation and scattering of solar irradiance by the frequently present airborne dust. Inaccurate estimation of solar resource can have serious implications on a project’s profitability and economic sustainability.

Attracting investments for new solar energy capacity, therefore, requires accurate knowledge of the spatial and temporal distribution of solar resources with detailed and bankable data for specific candidate sites. The Center was conceived to facilitate such comprehensive assessments and address gaps in reliable and available data which will enable investors to evaluate the feasibility of projects realistically and to select the appropriate technology for each investigated site.

 

Mission

The Center responds to the UAE’s objective to support the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its advancement of a publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources, particularly for developing countries. It is in the process of building profiles of solar and wind resource quality, land use, and grid connectivity through collaboration with local and international partners. Stage one involves the generation of UAE solar irradiance maps using a robust satellite-based solar mapping tool developed and validated at the Center. The maps depict hourly/daily/yearly variation of the three irradiance components, global, beam and diffuse, accurate knowledge of which is essential for the economics, design and simulation of different applications within the solar industry. For instance to determine the power generation capacity and efficiency of a solar technology, concentrating solar collectors (CSP) require accurate estimation of direct normal irradiance (DNI), while solar photovoltaic (SPV) require both direct normal and diffuse horizontal irradiance (DNI and DHI).

The UAE atlas is scheduled to be made freely available in early 2013 through IRENA atlas web portal.

Vision

The Center at Masdar Institute aims to develop regional knowledge and leadership in renewable energy assessment and mapping for the Arabian Peninsula and countries, mainly in Africa, with similar climate. Its goal is to gain international recognition as a pivotal hub to advance research and innovation focused on tackling the challenge of estimating solar potential for arid and dusty environments.
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