The GCC and MENA regions are embracing the opportunities solar power offers and looking to tap into abundant sunshine as a path towards a clean, profitable and independent energy future. The second edition of Intersolar Middle East will take in Dubai, September 26 and 27, and will once again host top regional energy players, influencers, and stakeholders. The first edition attracted over 4,000 visitors and more than 260 conference attendees from GCC countries and beyond.
Let the sunshine in
Several solar projects are already underway across the region. According to Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting firm, the GCC’s installed solar capacity is expected to reach 76 GW by 2020. Egypt is hoping to put 2,650MW of photovoltaic (PV) capacity online by 2020. Morocco is aiming for 600MW, while Jordan has 540MW of PV projects under construction.
A number of impressive PV projects have also been implemented in the Middle East. A prominent one is the solar PV plant in Sweihan, Abu Dhabi. The $872 million undertaking is set to be world’s largest single-location solar farm, with a capacity of 1,177MW, with expected commercial operation in April 2019.
Knowledge is power
Parties interested in PV opportunities in the Middle East will meet with exhibitors of PV Power Plants and EPC contractors, among others, learn best practices, and hear of market-specific financing and business models. Four sessions focussing on utility-scale, ground-mounted and rooftop solar installations will provide insights to interested parties. Further discussions will tackle the use of inverters in smart power systems and the innovative use of drones and robots for greater safety and efficiency.
Gear up for EVs
This year, the event includes a special session on electric vehicles (EVs). A new incentive programme was launched by the UAE Ministry of Energy in May, encouraging motorists to buy new zero-carbon-emission EVs through green bank loans, green insurance plans, green registration of vehicles and attractive EV prices.
“We are working on a road map to expedite a 15 per cent reduction by 2020 of carbon emissions,” said UAE Minister of Energy Suhail Mohammad Faraj Al Mazroui, whose plan also includes ten per cent and 20 per cent targets for EV adoption within the government’s own fleet.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will double the number of its EV charging stations to 200 across Dubai to complete the second phase of its Green Charger initiative.
Meanwhile, Tesla, an American automaker, energy storage company, and solar panel manufacturer, is set to open its first service center in Dubai, after taking an order for 200 Model S and Model X electric vehicles for the city’s taxi and government fleet.