The Middle East is boosting its solar power sector with $6.8 billion worth of projects in the pipeline, said Jigar Shah, the chairman of the inaugural Solar Middle East Conference.
Mr. Shah told a Trade Arabia report that around 10 major projects are set to be plugged in the United Arab Emirates, 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 Mr, Shah, who is also the partner of clean energy investment company Inerjys.
“The economics of switching to solar energy are far better here than in South Africa, India, Brazil, China and the U.S. Now that the costs of developing solar technologies have significantly declined, it is time for the Middle East to turn talk into action.”
While the Middles East possesses vast potential of solar power, it still lags behind other more established markets like the European Union and North America, noted Mr. Shah.
Consequently, solar technology experts are urging the governments to implement key policies and regulations that will facilitate immediate investments in the industry as well as accelerate the deployment of the solar energy projects.
The Middle East is one of the biggest fossil fuel producing regions, with major exporters Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran.
Having the world’s largest oil and gas reserves together with North Africa, the Middle East is unlikely to be an “advocate” of renewable energy. Nonetheless, with unlimited renewable energy prospects, particularly solar power, the region is gradually tapping these resources to create a new market.
“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,” said Khalid Masri, the managing director of consultancy firm Standards Associates, and another speaker at the conference.
The Solar Middle East Conference, which will open in Dubai on February 17, is aimed at addressing the crucial issues confronting the region’s immense solar potential. It will involve stakeholders and experts in the solar industry both at regional and international levels, as well as some government officials. – EcoSeed Staff