Masdar City minimises energy consumption by deploying the best commercially available international energy-efficient techniques and setting stringent building efficiency guidelines in areas such as insulation, low-energy lighting specifications, the percentage of glazing (i.e., windows), optimising natural light, and installing smart appliances, smart metres, smart building management systems, an integrated distribution management system, and a citywide energy management system that interacts to manage the electrical load on the grid – all along the system, from the utility to the consumer.
Currently, the city is fully powered by onsite renewable energy. As the city grows, however, this will change, with a medium-term target of at least 20% of energy supply coming from onsite renewable sources. The remaining power will be sourced from offsite renewable sources. There are several renewable energy projects under construction or in earlier stages of development in the UAE that will provide potential clean-energy sources for the city.
In addition to photovoltaic electricity generation, the sun’s energy is being tapped via evacuated tube solar collectors to provide domestic hot water. Furthermore, concentrated solar and geothermal heat to run single- and double-effect absorption chillers are currently being tested as possible air-conditioning solutions for the city.
A 10MW solar photovoltaic plant is already operational within Masdar City, the largest such solar plant in the Middle East. It powers the first Masdar Institute buildings, the temporary Masdar administration buildings and many ongoing construction activities on site. Built across 22 hectares by Abu Dhabi-based Enviromena, the plant was connected to the Abu Dhabi power grid in April 2009 and consists of 50% thin film photovoltaic modules and 50% polycrystalline photovoltaic modules.
Onsite solar power also is provided by a 1MW solar photovoltaic plant located on the roofs of the first Masdar Institute buildings and which is providing 30% of the buildings’ overall energy requirements.