More than 7,000 solar panels have been installed at the Mall of the Emirates car park in Dubai, the first retrofit of its kind in the region.

Majid Al Futtaim said 7,291 solar panels were installed the Mall of the Emirates’ rooftop carpark that spans 11,996m².

Phase 1 of the retrofit has been completed, but the mall operator did not say how many phases would be carried out.

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A solar plant is being built at the Mall of the Emirates capable of generating three gigawatt hours (GWh) of clean energy. This could save Majid Al Futtaim up to AED1.4m ($381,000) in annual electricity costs.

The retrofit took 10 weeks to complete and the shopping centre remained operational the entire time.

The retrofit was led by Enova, a company created in 2002 through a joint venture between Majid Al Futtaim and French organisation Veolia.

Majid Al Futtaim and Enova launched an initiative last year to install solar panels at some of the former’s shopping malls.The company wants all of its new developments to source at least 7.5% of on-site energy needs via renewable power. Existing building have been set a target of sourcing 5% of energy demand through solar.

Majid Al Futtaim Holding’s chief sustainability officer, Ibrahim Al'Zubi, said the photovoltaic plant brings the company “one step closer to our commitment” to be net positive in carbon and water use by 2040.

“This new solar photovoltaic plant is set to reduce 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions every year, equivalent to taking 480 cars off the road.”

Anne Le Guennec, chief executive officer, Enova, added: “We encourage our clients to take a step further in their energy performance strategies by supporting them to not only implement energy conservation measures for increased energy efficiency, but also generate their own energy through on-site solar photovoltaic plants”.