Quo vadis solaris? Opportunities for the solar sector in the UAE

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The wider Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is getting more and more attention from the solar industry these days. This does not come as much of a surprise, given the natural suitability of the region for everything solar and, of course, the fact that solar markets in other parts of the world are declining for various reasons, the best of which is ‘too much’ installed solar capacity in Germany.

Recent developments in the region are very interesting indeed. At present, the region is still almost ‘virgin ground’, but with massive potential. In total, less than 150MW of solar capacity has actually been installed in the region so far. Judging by installed capacity alone, Abu Dhabi is leading by far, with Shams 1’s 100MW and the Masdar City’s 10MW power plants being connected to the grid and actually supplying clean energy to consumers. The future is promising, however, with approximately 50GW of solar energy projects having been announced.

Saudi Arabia is taking the lead in this respect, having announced concrete plans to add 41GW of solar capacity to its general energy mix by 2030. Other jurisdictions have less ambitious targets, but are still planning to install a considerable amount of solar capacity. Kuwait, for example, is planning to increase its supply by 2,200MW between now and 2030, Qatar is to add 1,800MW by 2020 and Abu Dhabi and Dubai together are planning an additional 2,500MW by 2030…

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