The UAE and Saudi Arabia's 'bright' future-literally
The six GCC countries altogether have sanctioned solar power installation projects worth approximately $155 billion, which will generate more than 84GW of power when completed by 2017.
Gulf countries will be addressing some of the main challenges related to the deployment of energy projects in a desert terrain, at a high-level industry summit, called Gulf Sol 2013, taking place at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre from today until Thursday. The event will feature government and private sector companies discussing ways of effective deployment of solar projects while also showcasing some of the latest international technologies.
At a Press conference, Derek Burston, director of UK-based Bowmedia, organisers of Gulf Sol 2013, summarised the growth of the GCC photovoltaic market as “phenomenal”.
“Over the years, solar power has been acknowledged as the most promising source of renewable energy and GCC governments have demonstrated their keenness to shift from traditional energy sources to these low-cost and abundant alternatives. Direct radiation in many Middle Eastern countries exceeds six kWh per square metre per day, making for excellent solar potential. In addition, recent decreases in the costs of solar technologies coupled with rising electricity demand in these growing nations, if coupled with the right policies, could make the region a hub for solar expansion,” Burston explained.
The Emirates Solar Industries Association, or Esia, estimates that key Mena markets to adopt solar power will be Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE and Kuwait, as well as Morocco. All of these countries have potent economic reasons for adopting solar technologies, and none of these nations have been directly affected by recent unrest.
Marc Norman, director of the Esia, said: “The economics of switching to solar energy in the Middle East is ever more compelling. With oil prices increasing, and solar technology costs plummeting, it is time for governments in the Middle East to turn talk into action.”
Gulf Sol 2013 assumes added significance given that Abu Dhabi has set a goal of generating seven per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, has announced that it will invest up to Dh6 billion in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank.
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