Solar Middle East  returns this month after making a mark in its last year’s inaugural showcase. The event will provide insight into the solar industry for professionals and experts across the globe
Solar energy in the Middle East offers one of the biggest, untapped energy resources and new developments continue to increase its attractions.
After its debut last year, Solar Middle East is back to help solar professionals learn, compare and network. The three-day event will be held from February 11-13 at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre.
Development in the industry has been substantial in the past year, with Solar ME promising to be an essential platform for the growth.
The event is organised by Informa Energy Group and will run alongside Middle East Electricity, the region’s premier power exhibition. Solar ME, however, is a more comprehensive gathering for solar energy enthusiasts and experts. The event will bring together a notable line-up of exhibitors from all over the world. It will provide an opportunity for technology manufacturers and system integrators to build relationships with industry influencers and key decision makers within the solar market in the GCC and wider Middle East.
Solar ME will also feature a dedicated industry conference, addressing key challenges that the Middle East region faces and how to harness the infinite resource and integrate it into regional power grids.
MENA focuses on solar power
This year, Middle East and North Africa’s solar energy sector is gearing up for a significant growth with the regional market for photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants expected to reach 3.5 gigawatts by 2015.
According to the Middle East and North Africa Outlook 2013-2017 Report published by US-based Greentech Media Research, solar energy is expected to exceed a combined output of 10 GW in the region by 2017.
Anita Mathews, Director of Informa Energy Group, said the booming solar landscape, a result of high solar irradiation, rising electricity prices and an increasing population throughout the region, will further strengthen the role of this year’s Solar Middle East .
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 2013, there were 106 renewable energy projects  in the pipeline in the region, totalling 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.”
Mathews added that 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.
Commenting on investments in the MENA renewable energy sector, Mathews said: “This region is one of the few in the world where renewable energy investment seems to be weathering with new investments totalling $ 2.9 billion in 2012, an increase of almost 40% over 2011.
“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.”