The photovoltaics and solar thermal power plants market in the Mena region’s solar energy sector is expected to reach 3.5 gigawatts by 2015, Anita Mathews, director of Informa Energy Group, said, citing the Middle East and North Africa Outlook 2013-2017 Report published by US-based Greentech Media (GTM) Research , which forecast that solar energy is expected to exceed a combined output of 10GW in the region by 2017.
A result of high solar irradiation, rising electricity prices and an increasing population throughout the region, Mathews said that the booming solar landscape will further strengthen the role of the second edition of Solar Middle East,  which will take place on Feb. 11-13, 2014 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.
The event, organized by Informa Energy Group  and running alongside leading power event, Middle East Electricity, provides a platform for solar industry professionals across the globe.
It will bring together a line-up of exhibitors from all over the world to showcase their products to an audience of key decision makers from across the region.
Mathews said: “The Mena renewable energy market is expanding rapidly with a diverse range of countries announcing projects to exploit the region’s abundant wealth of energy resources for economic growth and energy expansion.
“As of April, there were 106 renewable energy projects in the pipeline in the region, totaling over 7.5 gigawatts of new electric generation capacity. This is in addition to 10 major projects set to go ahead in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.”
The majority of demand for solar energy will originate in Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with the latter leading the way towards the region’s first gigawatt scale solar market by 2015, she said.
“An increasing number of countries in the Middle East are keen to invest in the region’s thriving solar industry and with renewable energy sources in abundance – particularly solar power  – the region is gradually tapping these resources to pave the way for a new market.”
The event will features a dedicated industry conference, addressing key challenges that the Middle East region faces regarding harnessing the infinite resource and integrating it into regional power grids.