A Solar Opportunity in Algeria 0

Considering its sun-bleached location, you’d think it was only amatter of time before Algeria went solar.

According to Algerian statemedia, the North African oil and gas producer has plans to build aplant for the manufacture of solar panels, in an effort to draw 5percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, Reuters reports.As proof of the government backing behind the project, state-ownedutility Sonelgaz will invest $100 million in the factory and launch around of bidding for contractors by the end of 2009.

[Algeria’s official news agency] said the factory, whichis scheduled to open in 2012, will each year produce photovoltaic cellswith a generating capacity of 50 megawatts, equivalent to about onetenth the capacity of a small nuclear power plant.

The announcement follows not too far behind the news of the Desertec Industrial Initiativeearlier this summer, in which a consortium of European businesses plansto finance a €400 billion ($597.3 billion) project that generates powerin North Africa and export it to Europe. The Desertec project has yetto significantly move forward, perhaps partially due to fears ofexploitation from those on whom its progression rests.

Algerian Energy and Mines Minister Chakib Khelil hasexpressed reservations about the project, saying earlier this year: “Wedon’t want foreign companies exploiting solar energy from our land.”


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