A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills | A pioneering UAE startup is helping Middle East corporations to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce energy bills.

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills

A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills
A Dubai solar-power startup helps clients cut energy bills
  • By: arabnews.com
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A pioneering UAE startup is helping Middle East corporations to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce energy bills.

Dubai-based Yellow Door Energy builds bespoke solar-power plants on company premises. It also finances, designs, operates and maintains the facilities, be they at a factory, office tower, warehouse or shopping mall. Customers pay a monthly bill once the installation starts producing electricity and come to own the solar plant at the end of the 10- or 15-year agreement. Known as build-own-operate-transfer or lease-to-own, Yellow Door Energy’s contracts can save clients 40 percent or more on their electricity costs. “For customers that don’t consume a lot of power, such as logistics warehouses, we can meet all of their electricity needs from their rooftop,” said Jeremy Crane, co-founder and CEO of Yellow Door Energy. “For others, such as factories with energy-intensive processes, we might service 25 percent to 50 percent of their needs.” He was previously chief operating officer of Dubai’s Adenium Energy Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm. Convinced of the potential of solar power to meet corporations’ electricity needs, he persuaded Adenium to become a founding investor in Yellow Door Energy, and the parties co-launched the venture in 2015. Typically, the startup will build a solar plant on the rooftop or parking lot of a company’s premises, generating locally the power it needs. Jordanian regulations enable private operators to produce electricity in one location and consume it in another. In the UAE and most other Middle East countries, solar plants unaffiliated with utility companies must generate electricity in the location where it will be used. In May, Yellow Door Energy signed a deal with Dubai’s Majid Al-Futtaim to supply solar power to its Carrefour stores in Jordan. The company will build a 17-megawatt (MW) solar park to serve 28 stores across the country. Typically, 10,000 square meters of solar panels will generate 1 megawatt of electricity. “We generally focus on companies that need 1 megawatt or more of power,” Crane said. The customer remains connected to the grid or other sources of electricity, such as generators. Since solar power fluctuates depending on the weather and time of day, a back-up solution is essential. “Solar panel cells are decreasing in price by 5 percent to 10 percent every year, driven largely by efficiency improvements, so you need fewer panels to generate the same amount of electricity,” Crane said. “When you need fewer panels, you also need less racking, wiring, and labor, which reduces significantly the overall cost of the project.” This enables Yellow Door Energy to deliver cheaper power to its customers. “We can reduce the lease payments that they have to make,” Crane said. In the UAE, Yellow Door Energy’s customers are mostly in the logistics, industrial, and food and beverage sectors. In Jordan, they tend to be shopping malls, hospitals and supermarkets. The focus in Egypt is on logistics and light manufacturing, while Pakistani customers mainly operate in the industrial sector. “By enabling businesses to generate clean energy on their own premises, we can accelerate the sustainable energy transition,” Crane said. His company received $65 million in its first round of venture capital financing in January 2019. Its shareholders include the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Japanese conglomerate Mitsui, and Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation. Yellow Door Energy, which has around 50 staff in the UAE, Jordan and Pakistan, set its sights on investing more than $100 million in building solar plants in 2019. It plans to raise more funds in 2020 “to support our geographic expansion,” Crane said in conclusion, adding that the startup is eyeing the Gulf, Levant and Africa.


This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. 

CAIRO: The sustainable disposal of agricultural waste has long been a challenge in Egypt. Despite a 2012 government ban on burning rice straw at the end of the harvest, every year thick black clouds choke the nation’s skies as farmers set their waste ablaze. An estimated 22–26 million dry tons of agricultural waste in Egypt is burned annually, according to figures from the American University of Cairo. As well as being burned in fields, agricultural waste is often used as fuel in primitive ovens that can cause health problems and damage the environment. The type and quantity of agricultural waste in Egypt differs from year to year and village to village because farmers cultivate whichever crops are the most profitable at any time. The five crops with the highest amount of waste are rice, corn, wheat, cotton and sugarcane. In the past decade, government and civil focus has turned towards reducing agricultural waste, but much more needs to be done. Enas Khamis, one of Cairo’s leading anti-waste activists, was ahead of her time when she set up El Nafeza, a waste reduction workshop, in 2007. “The disposal of agricultural waste plays a big role in the pollution of our Egyptian skies. Yet a lot of the wastage can be recycled,” Khamis said. Her social enterprise turns the huge amounts of dumped rice straw into a resource for both humanity and the environment. The workshop also trains and hires people with disabilities to recycle rice straws into paper products that are sold all over the country. Proceeds from selling El Nafeza crafts are used to run further workshops for young people, women and people with disabilities, teaching them how to use papermaking skills to create products from agricultural refuse. “It’s important that we empower these groups and teach them a craft that enables them to live in dignity,” says Khamis. El Nafeza has established specialized training centers to teach and spread art techniques —especially skills working with rice straws, Nile water lilies and bananas stalks. “The handmade paper industry is considered a non-traditional source of income in poor areas and the development of these crafts will help to solve the unemployment problem in Egypt,” said Khamis. The El Nafeza workshop in Cairo produces more than 150 handmade products, including paper, envelopes, notebooks, handcrafted cards and frames. Khamis relies on this workshop to act as a marketing tool for the brand, which sells to both locals and tourists. “It is easy to sell our products from there because it is better for the customer to see the steps of our work in detail. They can see what a distinctive product it is and how much craftsmanship goes into it,” she said. Khamis is busy working on a business and marketing strategy to take her wares into the international arena. “We have plans to export our products to many countries, such as Germany, Italy and the US. “We already have beautiful and unique products which we will continue to improve. Now our biggest challenge is selling our products and opening up our markets,” she said.


This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. 

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