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Solar Panels Cut Air Conditioning Bills By 50 Percent In This Community

On the outskirts of Sharjah, bordering Dubai, an environmental leap is being taken with the construction of Sharjah Sustainable City, a 1,250-villa development that will be powered by the sun.

The city is a joint venture between the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, better known as Shurooq, and Diamond Developers, the company behind The Sustainable City in Dubai.

Each of the three, four and five-bedroom villas will be powered by its own rooftop solar panels, cutting energy and water bills by up to 50 percent.

However, that is not the primary draw for the project, the first sustainable development in the emirate whose first phase is already sold out, said Karim El-Jisr, chief sustainability officer at Diamond Developers.

“The price is extremely competitive, ranging from Dh1.3 million to Dh2.8m,” Mr. El-Jisr said.

“On top of that, you get five years of complimentary service fees, you get all the appliances fitted in the kitchen, having been selected based on energy requirements, and you get home automation and reduced utility bills.”

Every villa monitors its energy production and energy use, keeping the homeowner informed via a mobile app that allows them to set or alter its energy needs.

The futuristic tone for the development is set by the array of solar panels as you drive in. Yet its sustainability tag is not only in energy-saving provision, because this villa development has a green heart.

It recycles its water and waste and produces vegetables and greens to enhance sustainability. There are a series of bio-domes across the community with vertical farms growing fruit and vegetables.

With about 12 kilometres of rubber jogging tracks, 1.6km of cycle tracks and 8.4km of pedestrian pathways, it’s possible to walk from one side of the seven-square-kilometre site to the other without crossing a road.

Charging points for electric vehicles are available in the communal parking areas, with rooftop solar photovoltaic cells offsetting 100 percent of electricity consumption in communal areas.

The 280 villas in the first phase are now complete and ready to be handed over in July 2022. However, the development is so unique in Sharjah that its governance has still to catch up.

“Our partnership with Shurooq is pivotal because we are helping to deploy the first net-metering system here in Sharjah,” Mr. El-Jisr said, which will allow unused energy produced by the solar panels to be credited back to owners.

“Working in collaboration with [the] Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, we look forward to the approvals coming to the development so that we can deploy the photovoltaic modules and achieve net-zero energy,” he said.

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