European investors plan 400MW of solar generating capacity in Oman

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Solar industry business people are continuing to invest in the Middle East. Swiss Terra Nex, a wealth management company specializing in Middle East investment and Germany-based Middle East Best Select (MEBS) plan a US$2 billion integrated project to develop 400MW of solar technology in Oman, including facilities to manufacture solar panels for Oman and for export. Last week, wholesaler and project developer, Antaris Solar, announced it had opened trading posts in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The project will be financed largely by investors from Germany, with US$600 million of the overall investment coming from direct equity capital, with the remainder covered by loans from European financial institutions. Terra Nex has organised a conference for 70 German investors in MEBS. The investors have gained a first-hand look at Oman and met with some key players in the government, industrial and power sectors.

“To ensure the project's achievability, MEBS has also launched a private investment fund named Solar Energy-Photovolotaik in Oman as an added incentive. With a total initial investment of US$200 million, this fund will finance the first solar power station,” said Shaikh Hilal bin Khalid bin Nasser al Maawali, local partner to Terra Nex and MEBS, who has helped direct the project in Oman.

Terra Nex and MEBS have agreed with Sheikh Hilal Al -Maawali to offer 40% of the capital for public subscription in the future after not more than four years from the operation of the project.

This project is set to create over 2000 work opportunities for Omanis over diverse industrial sectors and services. The Research Council of Oman recently approved a budget to focus on the study of energy planning, investment and research consulting in the Sultanate, which will improve the skillset of the local populace.

“The new institute for solar energy in conjunction with international training will give the Sultanate the necessary expertise and well educated human capital to establish a manufacturing base with the ability to produce and export clean energy to regional countries and gives the Omani youth a competitive edge in the region job market. These new jobs will create a new revenue stream for the national economy and help place Oman as a leader in the field of the renewable power technology sector; an expertise that will be marketable in the region,” said Sheikh Hilal.

He continued, “This is great beginning for 2012 for Oman. With a major US$2bn international investment strong indication of commitment coming to Oman so early in the year, we have yet again highlighted the potential for attractive investment in the Sultanate.

“This project touches so many aspects of Omani society – from economic growth to energy generation; from industrial diversification to education and jobs creation; from optimum utilization of natural resources to technological innovation – the chance for exponential growth is all but definitive.”

“Oman's stable business environment and pro-environmental policies makes the Sultanate a natural partner to this project,” David Heimhofer, chairman of Terra Nex, said in a statement.

“The government's aim to produce 10% of its energy needs from renewable energy resources by 2020 is laudable and this project will go a long way in making that vision a reality.”

Siemens AG, Solar and Hydro Division, has already expressed an interest in the project to act as the EPC contractor.

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