The Middle East is forging ahead with its plan to boost solar power within their regional energy mix with ten major solar projects worth a combined $6.8 billion currently under way in the region, said an expert.
These mammoth projects are coming up in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
“Everyone is desperate to invest in the Middle East solar industry, they are all just waiting for clear instructions from the governments in the region,” said Jigar Shah, the partner of clean energy investment company, Inerjys, and chairman of the inaugural ‘Solar Middle East Conference,’ which opens in Dubai on February 17.
The three-day conference is aimed at solving the fundamental issues facing the region’s unlimited solar potential. It will feature an expert line-up of regional and international solar players, with many pleading for governments to continue and boost their efforts in developing the necessary policies to harness the abundance of sunlight in the region.
“The economics of switching to solar energy are far better here than in South Africa, India, Brazil, China and the US. Now that the costs of developing solar technologies have significantly declined, it is time for the Middle East to turn talk into action,” said Shah.
However, the region still lags behind more established markets such as Europe and North America, he added.
The solar technology experts have called upon the Middle Eastern governments to pave the way for quick investments in this industry and also step up key policies and regulations in this regard.
Khalid Masri, the managing director of consultancy firm Standards Associates, and another speaker at the conference said the lack of clear policy and incentives in the Middle East remains the main challenge in utilising solar energy to its full potential.
“These can be overcome by introducing state of the art regulations and standards that allow the solar industry to grow and that give the private sector incentives and guarantees to start investing,” said Masri.
“I expect a great future for solar energy in the Middle East. The region can be the global leader in solar energy on the practical innovation and deployment side of the equation. To that end, the Solar Middle East Conference can begin the necessary conversations to achieve this goal.”
The free to attend conference is a feature of the inaugural edition of the Solar Middle East exhibition, and has attracted more than 150 suppliers of solar products from around the world eager to tap into the lucrative Mena market.
Solar Middle East is co-located with the 38th edition of Middle East Electricity, the region’s largest and longest-running energy event, hosting more than 1,000 exhibitors showcasing their latest wares in the power, lighting, nuclear, and renewable energy sectors.
Anita Mathews, the director of Informa Energy Group, organisers of Middle East Electricity and Solar Middle East said: “As power demand in the Middle East continues to grow unabated, countries are looking to invest in alternative, sustainable energy sources for electricity generation.”