Is the Middle East on the cusp of a solar dawn?

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Solar power has been threatening to make a breakthrough in the Middle East for some time, but while there is plenty of utility scale capacity on the drawing board, to date very little has been developed.

The mood among delegates at the recent Menasol 2014 conference in Dubai was one of optimism, however, and there was a sense that the industry may not be far from reaching a tipping point.

Shouldering the burden of soaring energy demand appears to be weighing heavily on the region´s governments, with every barrel of subsidised oil sold locally for power generation representing a missed opportunity on the lucrative international market.

At the same time, focus has been sharpened by the falling cost of producing solar power thanks to technological developments.

The news that governments are waking up to the potential of harnessing the sun is music to ears of the solar industry, which has long called for pricing reform and the need to introduce new regulatory frameworks to smooth the path for renewable energy.

While Jordan currently leading the charge towards a sustainable energy future with big investments in both wind and solar projects, the industry is looking to the largest market in the region to provide the real impetus.

One of the key messages from the bog hitters that we spoke to for our in depth cover feature this month, was that if solar power can gain traction in Saudi Arabia the ramifications are likely to be felt throughout the Middle East.

And the sense is that there could be some big news coming out of Saudi Arabia in the next few months. Watch this space.

Source: Utilities Middle East Magazine

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