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Thu 3 May 2018 08:32 AM

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Dubai date factory to become world's first to run on solar power

The Al Barakah factory will save 882 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of 200 cars

Dubai date factory to become world's first to run on solar power

Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena Power Systems has penned an power purchase agreement (PPA) to install a 1 megawatt peak (MWp) rooftop solar power system to the Al Barakah Dates factory.

The facility, located in Dubai Industrial Park, will be the first of its kind to run on solar power.

As part of the 20-year agreement, Enviromena will install 3,220 solar PV panels on the 10,000-square metre building, offsetting 100 percent of its electricity needs by producing more power during daylight hours.

According to Enviromena, the system will result in savings of AED 10 million ($2.72 million), as well as 882 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of removing nearly 200 vehicles from the road.

“The UAE is one of the leading date supplier as well as an emerging leader in solar power. We want to help support local industries with a sustainable and economic solution, and along with Al Barakah, we are strengthening both sectors,” said Sami Khoreibi, chief executive of Enviromena.

Al Barakah is the largest privately owned date factory in the region. The company processes over 60,000 dates tons of dates a year into various end-products and exports to over 54 countries around the world.

The Dubai facility also manufactures date syrup which is used as a natural sweetener replacing processed sugar for items such as ketchup and barbecue sauce, according to Yousuf Saleem, chief executive of Al Barakah.

“We also make date paste which goes into energy and snack bars, which does require a lot of energy to produce heat. We also need to store dates which are harvested only once a year, requiring energy-intensive refrigeration,” Saleem said. “Our monthly electricity and water bills average thousands of dirhams, which is one of our biggest costs. The opportunity to slash that monthly expenditure while being more environmentally friendly was a no-brainer.”

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