Spotlight on Manoj Divakaran, CEO at Empereal Energy and Services
Manoj Divakaran has over 33 years of outstanding track record as a leader and entrepreneur in Technology, Financial Markets, Renewable Energy, and Water, dealing with the mission-critical areas of Banking, Financial Trading Services, Power Generation, and Water Desalination. He is currently recognized as a thought leader in the renewable energy and water industries and is a strong proponent of Open Innovation. He has successfully incubated various innovative ventures and projects in the renewable energy and water sectors. He has mentored many start-ups and has assisted existing innovative industries to expand into new markets.
Please describe your role at Empereal and expertise in the sector?
As the Co-Founder and CEO of Empereal Energy, I lead our vision to make Empereal a key part of the region’s solar journey and to convert the entire outer envelope of buildings to be aesthetic and energy generating for a net-zero future. I take responsibiilty for my team in all aspects of the work, from concept designs to implementation and maintenance. We work with experts from various fields of materials and the construction industry to ensure we can provide the ground-breaking, innovative and high-quality solutions for solar photovoltaic and solar thermal, consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations.
Can you explain the concept of architectural solar and how it differs from traditional solar panel installations?
Architectural solar integrates solar solutions into the architectural design of the building, rather than simply adding solar panels to an existing roof or structure. It leads to a seamless, aesthetically pleasing and visually integrated look. Architectural solar often serves a dual purpose as an energy generating solar panel and as a building material; often replacing traditional roofing materials and facades, providing weather protection, insulation and water proofing, amongst other characteristics. Architectural solar improves the clean energy footprint of a building by making it possible to integrate solar generation into otherwise unused areas. It may also be more expensive than traditional solar due to customised design and construction techniques.
How does Empereal incorporate architectural solar into its designs for buildings and other structures in the MENA region?
Empereal works with architects and consultants, as well as developers from concept design stages, to create net-zero sustainability approaches to buildings and communities. We are able to work on the design aspects, while also providing various innovative and ground-breaking solutions to meet specific architectural intent. Our engineering teams then work on structures and electrical design for both roofing and façade solutions meeting aesthetics, generation efficiency, cost effectiveness and regulatory requirements. Once the design is completed, we are able to complete the implementation of the solution and ensure it meets all the design requirements. This complete approach allows various iconic projects to be implemented accurately and cost effectively.
What are some of the benefits of using architectural solar, both from an aesthetic and practical standpoint?
Architectural solar panels and cladding can be designed to meet the architect’s intent of the building, leading to a seamless, aesthetic and cohesive look. This allows it to be used in both iconic and historical building designs. By leveraging architectural solar, we can improve the overall curb appeal of the building, leading to an increase in its market value.
From a practical perspective, architectural solar increases energy savings, reduces carbon emissions and improves the building’s insulation and general properties. Since architectural solar cladding and panels are designed to be weather resistant and easy to maintain, they can also improve the overall durability of the building.
How does architectural solar affect the overall energy efficiency of a building or structure?
Architectural solar has a positive impact on the overall energy efficiency of a building by reducing its energy consumption from the grid, through the onsite generation of renewable electrcity. It can provide better insulation against heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter, while also providing shading and shaded spaces for better living comfort. Furthermore, it can reduce the building’s carbon emissions and improve its overall carbon footprint. When used with ventilated rain screen facades, architectural solar cladding can provide multiple benefits to improve the overall energy efficiency.
How do you think architectural solar can contribute to the overall growth and sustainability of the MENA solar industry?
Architectural solar provides a new application for solar technology in the MENA region, creating new markets for solar products and services, driving growth and innovation in the industry. By creating new and innovative solar integrated building designs, it can create new value propositions for solar technology and drive demand for new products and services. Architectural solar also contributes significantly to the MENA’s sustainability vision and strategy to transition to a low-carbon energy system. It is an exciting industry, bringing together design, architecture, sustainability, construction and materials, and has the potential to create new jobs and industries across the region. It can also contribute significantly to the MENA’s vision for sustainable smart cities, both in existing and new developments.
Open question, is there something you want to add?
The MENA region has a great tradition of iconic traditional and modern architecture, while also benefiting from excellent solar radiation for most of the calendar year. By leveraging innovative architectural solar techniques, it can become a leader in sustainable building design and create new and innovative categories within the construction industry.
ABOUT EMPEREAL ENERGY AND SERVICES
Empereal Energy and Services operates in all aspects of solar energy solutions. From the research and development of solar thermal and water desalination solutions to solar photovoltaics and architectural solar, we bring innovative design and engineering skills to design, implement and maintain various solar solutions. Founded in 2009, we have completed over 620 MW of Solar PV and over 130 MW of concentrating solar thermal solutions, along with various innovative water desalination and water recycling projects. We operate across multiple geographies, including Singapore, India, the Middle East, USA and recently Central Asia. We have a highly skilled team who have a wide range of experience in design innovation and precise implementation of solutions.