With the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy plummeting, countries worldwide are adopting large-scale utility projects and off-grid systems. Thanks to ambitious renewable energy targets and vast expanses of sun-soaked desert, solar PV has become the GCC’s cheapest source of new electricity, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
By 2030, IRENA predicts the GCC will have 40GW of utility-scale PV projects and nearly 200,000 solar power jobs. Solar careers in 2030 will include 124,000 solar PV jobs, 50,000 concentrated solar power (CSP) jobs, and 23,000 jobs for small-scale solar rooftop projects.
As the region’s leading solar marketplace, the Solar Expo & Forum will be supporting this transition when it returns to Abu Dhabi next January. Held during the 2020 World Future Energy Summit and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the specialised event brings together leading solar power engineering companies, technology providers, and financiers.
Visitors will discover a full range of solar trends, deals and opportunities to accelerate the success of solar projects across the Middle East and North Africa Region, as well as new technologies and innovation solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and energy storage.
“As solar power adoption increases worldwide, the Solar Expo & Forum will bring together the world’s leading solar technology providers, government agencies, and thought leaders,” said Grant Tuchten, Group Event Director, World Future Energy Summit. “Visitors to the Solar Expo & Forum can come to see solar technology and innovation, source leading-edge solar products for their markets, and network with leading solar project owners to learn and share best practices.”
The UAE, which IRENA says hosts 65% of the GCC’s solar PV installed capacity, is leading global solar power innovation. The Emirates Water and Electricity Company’s Noor Abu Dhabi recently became the world’s largest single operational solar power plant at 1.18GW, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s 5GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is among the world’s largest single-site solar parks.
“As the cost of large-scale solar electricity generation has dropped by 60-80 percent over the past ten years, it is now one of the cheapest new builds for electricity in the GCC and Middle East,” said Petri Isotalus, Investment Director at Finland-headquartered renewable fund manager and developer,Taaleri Energia.
The firm, which will be exhibiting at the Solar Expo, has a 1.6GW portfolio of wind and solar assets across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. For example, Taaleri and Masdar are co-investors in the 200MW Baynouna, the largest solar project in Jordan to date, and in the 158MW Čibuk 1 wind farm, the largest wind power project in Serbia to date, to develop further renewable energy opportunities in Eastern Europe.