Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Panel manufacturer Trina Solar said operations have started at a small city in Dubai that gets all of its energy needs met entirely by renewable resources.
Dubbed the Sustainable City in Dubai, the 11,000-acre site could eventually host a population of around 2,000 people who get all of their power needs met by renewable energy resources. Trina Solar said it finished with phase 1 development, which saw the installation of more than 24,000 solar panels.
"We are building up to our total goal of 40,000 solar panels, which will eventually produce up to 10 megawatts of power at maximum capacity," Anwar Zagin, the CEO for the city, said in a statement.
The amount of electricity needed for air conditioning and desalination in the United Arab Emirates means it has one of the more carbon-intensive economies in the world. The decline in the cost of solar power installations, however, led to a tripling of its goal for renewable energy, aiming for a share of 15 percent of total power by 2030.
The International Energy Agency estimates the cost of utility-scale solar power projects have declined by about 60 percent since 2011 and could drop another 25 percent by 2021. In response, investments in solar photovoltaics increased 20 percent last year.
The city is located about 18 miles outside of Dubai, the largest and most populous Emirati city.
"Solar power is expected to be a significant contributor to Dubai's ambitions to become the world's most sustainable city by 2020," Helena Li, the regional president for Trina Solar, said in a statement.
The advancement paints a mixed picture for the United Arab Emirates, which is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Production in July was around 2.9 million barrels per day, down from the fourth quarter average of 3.1 million bpd, though the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. said it could boost production to 3.5 million bpd by bringing new partners to the offshore sector.