Solar power in the Middle East seems simultaneously logical with sun-scorched deserts everywhere, and illogical, all that oil, at the same time.
But several of the “Gulf monarchies,” all major contributors to the world’s oil supplies, are starting to set goals to cut back on consuming the hydrocarbons they produce in favor of sustainable, climate-friendly energy sources.
Abu Dhabi has a goal of getting 7 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and the state owned renewable energy company, Masdar, is reportedly set to announce that it will invest ‘up to £1 billion’ in alternative energy schemes alongside the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB). Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, is even more ambitious. The Saudi government hopes to just about double its installed electricity capacity by building 54 gigawatts of renewable energy (as well as 17.6 GW of nuclear power) by 2032, of which 41 GW will come from the sun. Qatar is also turning to renewables, with a plan on the table to get 10 percent of the electricity and energy used in water desalination from solar by 2018. Kuwait, too, has ambitions for 10 percent renewables by 2020.
To meet the goals that the UAE have set themselves means expertise will be needed from the international solar power industry to deal with the difficulties involved in desert construction including dust, high winds and transmission requirements.
To address this demand, GulfSol takes place 3-5 September 2013 at the DWTC.
“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” said Derek Burston, exhibition manager of GulfSol 2013.
“It is this reason that there has been a surge in space reservations at this year’s inaugural GulfSol exhibition. 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”.
To register to visit the event go to: www.confexsys.com/sol
For more information on the event go to: http://www.gulfsol.com/
Fast facts about the solar power industry
It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s trendy and it’s green. Solar and wind power are increasingly becoming topics of conversation as the world shifts from filthy coal, oil and other fossil fuels, to the clean and renewable energy provided by the wind and the sun.
- It would take only around 0.3 per cent of the world’s land area to supply all of our electricity needs via solar power.
- Weight for weight, advanced silicon based solar cells generate the same amount of electricity over their lifetime as nuclear fuel rods, without the hazardous waste. All the components in a solar panel can be recycled, whereas nuclear waste remains a threat for thousands of years.
- Solar and wind power systems have 100 times better lifetime energy yield than either nuclear or fossil energy system per tonne of mined materials
- The amount of energy that goes into creating solar panels is paid back through clean electricity production within anywhere from 1.5 – 4 years, depending on where they are used. This compares with a serviceable life of decades.
- The theoretical limit for silicon based solar cells is 29% conversion efficiency. Currently, polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels generally available have efficiencies anywhere from 12% to 18%. With the addition of solar concentrators, the efficiency of photovoltaics is eventually likely to rise above 60 per cent.
- The Earth receives more energy from the sun in an hour than is used in the entire world in one year
- Solar radiation and related energy resources including wind and wave power, hydro and biomass make up 99.97% of the available renewable energy on Earth
- The first solar cell was constructed by Charles Fritts in the 1880s
- The world’s largest wind turbine is currently the Enercon E-126 with a rotor diameter of 126 meters. The E-126 produces 6 megawatts, enough to power approximately 5,000 European households.
- Global annual photovoltaic installations increased from just 21 megawatts in 1985, to 2,826 megawatts in 2007
- Manufacturing solar cells produces 90% less pollutants than conventional fossil fuel technologies
- The solar industry creates 200 to 400 jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation for every 10 megawatts of solar power generated annually.