The 1st dedicated exhibition for the PV and solar industries of the MENA region 3–5 September 2013
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has officially opened its first big solar energy plant, the three companies behind the project said in a statement.
The 100-megawatt (MW) Shams 1 concentrated solar plant (CSP) took the UAE’s Masdar, France’s Total and Spain’s Abengoa three years to build at a cost of around $600 million.
Shams 1 is one of the largest CSP projects in the world and by far the largest solar plant in a fossil fuel reliant region that lags far behind much of Europe, the Americas and Asia in renewable energy.
“The region is faced with meeting its rising demand for energy, while also working to reduce its carbon footprint,” Masdar Chief Executive Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said in a statement to mark the opening of the plant.
The UAE’s richest emirate is targeting 7 percent of electricity from alternative sources by 2020. By comparison, that goal was exceeded by 21 of the 27 EU member states four years ago.
Shams 1 capacity, which is 10 times larger than the next largest plant in the country, is enough to supply 20,000 UAE homes and will be especially useful for meeting peak demand on hot summer days.
“It is apparent that whilst the solar industry in other areas is struggling, right across MENA, the opportunities for companies to get themselves involved with the wealth of opportunities that are presenting themselves. Right now, nothing is hotter for solar than the Middle East” says Derek Burston, exhibition manager, GulfSol 2013.
“It is this reason that since the beginning of the year there has been a real surge in space reservations at this year’s inaugural GulfSol exhibition, which will be in Dubai in September. As the only truly dedicated solar and PV show, the exhibition provides the perfect opportunity for companies to present themselves to a high quality visitor base over a three day period” he adds.