Solar power is poised to become an important part of the Middle East’s energy mix over the next decade, according to a leading expert on solar within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Dr. Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, Qatar Solar Technologies’ (QSTec) CEO, made the claim at last week’s GCC-France Economic Forum and believes that to maximise the potential of this solar boom the region needs to facilitate an influx of skilled PV professionals.
There is a growing demand within the GCC and North Africa for solar power and several countries, including Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are already embracing the technology and researching how it can be applied to desalination, solar cooling and oil and gas refining.
“The GCC countries are blessed with abundant energy reserves both above and below the surface,” Dr. Al Hajri said. “We have tapped the energy that lies below us in the form of our oil and gas deposits and we are now looking upwards to the sun to tap its unlimited energy potential. The possibilities are endless.
“There are a number of interesting solar projects which we are seeing within Qatar and the region that will have a positive impact on the development of the solar industry both locally, regionally and internationally, the region is well placed to become a major solar energy user, producer and researcher and I see a huge demand for skilled solar industry professionals to help us meet our growth objectives.”
QSTec is one of the leading names in driving solar in the Middle East and earlier this month unveiled plans to build a US$1-billion solar-grade polysilicon manufacturing facility in Qatar. The 8,000 MTPY (metric tonnes per year) plant is being built on 1.2 million square metres of land in Ras Laffan Industrial City and has a scheduled completion date of late 2013.