UAE And Saudi Arabia Evolving Into Solar Powerhouses


The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are leading the way among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in the deployment of solar power.
Combined, GCC countries have approximately 84 GW of solar farm projects in the pipeline due for completion by 2017; representing investment value of  US$155 billion.
“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,” said Derek Burston, Director of the UK-based Bowmedia, the organisers of Gulf Sol 2013.
“Direct radiation in many Middle Eastern countries exceeds 6 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”.
Saudi Arabia aims to double its installed electricity capacity; a goal that will be achieved in part by the construction of 54 GW of renewable energy power stations by 2032, 41 GW of which will be solar.
The largest operating solar panel based power generation facility in the GCC region currently is Enviromena’s 10 MW PV plant in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Abu Dhabi has set a goal of generating 7% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The Gulf Sol 2013 summit will run from September 3 to 5 and aside from showcasing the latest in solar technology, the event will include sessions discussing the feasibility of solar power projects in remote areas, opportunities in the GCC for international companies and regulatory and policy frameworks for implementation of solar projects.
The Gulf Cooperation Council consists of six Middle Eastern countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The alliance was formed in part to strengthen relations among its member countries.