Hive Energy looks overseas following UK solar policy reset

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UK solar developer Hive Energy is to make its first break into the international solar market by opening a new office in Dubai.

Its Middle East Regional headquarters will be led by the company’s Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Island director Colin Loubser and will target potentially lucrative solar opportunities throughout the region.

“Solar power in the United Arab Emirates has the potential to provide most of the country’s electricity demand. Although a major oil producing country, the UAE is taking significant steps towards introducing solar power on a large scale,” said Giles Redpath, chief executive at Hive Energy.

Dubai’s Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is increasingly keen on solar as a means to increase renewables’ share of the UAE’s energy mix by two percentage points within the next five years, including the proposed development of the 3GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park which is being offered to tender in stages.

The UK government’s policy reset this summer – particularly proposals to bring a premature end to Renewables Obligation support for sub-5MW solar farms and cut the feed-in tariff by 87% – have caused developers and installers in the country alike to question their place in the market and investigate opportunities overseas.

On top of Hive’s move into the UAE, native developers such as Lightsource have confirmed moves into Ireland’s nascent PV market while a number of firms remain interested in India’s plans to install up to 100GW of solar by 2022.

Finaly Colville, head of intelligence at Solar Intelligence, said that the development experience gained in the UK by companies such as Hive placed them in a good position to export it given the current status of the UK market.

“The model employed by ib Vogt, Martifer, and others, over the past few years, shows that project development skills can be transferred to other countries. The trick is choosing the correct countries, and aligning with the financing vehicles specific to solar around the world.

“Having sufficient corporate financing behind overseas expansions has often been the key factor behind many developers attempts to having a global footprint, and it will be interesting in this respect how Hive aligns its strategy within the middle east and any other countries prioritised for post-UK growth,” Colville added.

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