Gulf to invest $155bn in solar projects

Solar energy is set to emerge as one of the Gulf region’s main sources of energy by 2017 with approximately $155bn worth of solar power installation projects in the pipeline to generate more than 84GW of power.

Abu Dhabi has set a goal of generating 7% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, has announced that it will invest up to AED6bn ($1.6n) in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB).

Meanwhile, the Saudi government hopes to just about double its installed electricity capacity by building 54 GW of renewable energy (as well as 17.6 GW of nuclear power) by 2032, of which 41 GW will obtained from the sun.

Qatar is also turning to renewables, with a plan on the table to get 10% of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar energy by 2018.

Kuwait too has ambitions to derive 10% of its power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The Gulf countries will be addressing some of the main challenges related to the deployment of energy projects in desert terrain, at Dubai summit GulfSol 2013 in September.

“It is apparent that whilst the solar industry in other areas is struggling, right across MENA, the opportunities are there for companies to get themselves involved with a wealth of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Right now, nothing is hotter for solar than the Middle East” said Derek Burston, exhibition manager of GulfSol 2013.

“To meet the goals that the GCC have set themselves means expertise will be needed from the international solar power industry to deal with the difficulties involved in construction in desert terrain, including dust, high winds and transmission requirements.”

The event takes place at Dubai International Exhibition Centre from 3-5 September.