U.K. solar-power developer Hive Energy aims to help build DEWA complex

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Hive Energy, one of the United Kingdom’s leading solar-power developers, recently opened its first international office in Dubai.

The company's first representative office outside of the U.K. has submitted their expression of interest to participate in the building of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority's (DEWA) 1,000-megawatt Al Maktoum Solar Park, just south of Dubai, and plans to begin solar rooftop projects in the Emirate.

“We are very committed to the region,” Colin Loubser, Hive's Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Islands director, said. “We just see huge opportunity. There’s a huge amount of solar-energy projects that are being put out into tender from places like Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the UAE."

In January, at the World Future Energy Summit, DEWA tripled its clean-energy target for 2030 and said it will source 15 percent from renewable energy, a large portion of which is solar. By 2020, it expects renewable energy to account for 7 percent of the power grid, a 6  percent hike, and companies such as Hive Energy are poised to assist with these goals.

Loubser said Hive Energy also aims to build 20 acres of solar rooftops in Dubai's industrial areas, which will produce 5 megawatts and can power up to 6,000 homes. The team will target industrial sites and is in talks with private enterprises that are part of large city projects in the UAE. While they also have big plans for countries such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s government regulations facilitate the development and implementation of solar projects, making them a more attractive market in the short term.

“Some countries will allow you to export to the grid,” Loubser said. “Other countries will have problems because the municipality controls the power for the rooftop developments. UAE has the most positive environment at the moment for us, based on our studies.”

Many Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) governments, such as Saudi Arabia, continue to grapple with solar-energy regulations to achieve set solar goals.

However, the team will look outside of the region as Hive Energy stretches its international expansion into Africa and remote parts of Asia from its new Dubai office. Loubser and his team are looking into a 300-megawatt project in Tanzania and a 90-megawatt project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through mining businesses. They are even looking at projects for independent power suppliers in remote areas of Pakistan.

With the current global expansion, it only seemed natural for Hive to open an office in one of the world’s largest travel hubs.

“We have almost 1.2 million gigawatts of projects outside the U.K., “ Loubser said. “Dubai is the easiest place to get there from. It has the best flight connections, so it made sense for us to locate there.”