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Home > Worldwide PV Report > Market & Policy

Middle East: Solar Energy--Best for Powering Sustainable Growth

Its the burning question of the century: How to keep Planet Earth from getting over heated so we could continue living. Global warming may result in rising sea levels, coastal erosion and floods. It may cause drought, leading to water supply problems, crop failure, extreme weather such as storms and hurricanes, which cause severe damage to buildings, roads and infrastructure. The challenge lies in how to sustain economic development for all while keeping the emission levels of greenhouse gases under check. To prevent global warming, solar energy is the solution and it will run everything we use today. Its only a matter of time. PTL SolarTM, Middle East and Africas solar energy solutions provider, is determined to minimize the environmental impact of its products and do all it can to neutralize the carbon emissions and protect the ecology of its surroundings.

By PTL Solar



Global PV Market


The global market volume of newly installed PV Systems is rising from 4 GW in 2008 to 125 GW in 2020. Looking ahead, Solarbuzz (group of analysts passionate about the solar energy industry) forecasts a global PV market of 20.4 GW in 2011.

In order for growth in the PV industry to continue at such high levels, new markets other than the traditionally dominant mature markets of Germany, Japan, the U.S.A. and Spain need to be developed. The Middle East as well as North Africa provides best conditions for solar power-based energy production, taking advantage of high irradiation levels coupled with vast and scarcely populated regions.

As the credit crunch drags on, the ability of CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) installations to gain financing is becoming increasingly important. An increasing number of electricity utility companies are likely to enter the market in future. They can benefit from the mounting trend towards infrastructure investments, and they have access to cheaper financing thanks to their superior size and credit.

After a difficult year in 2010, the solar industry is expected to emerge stronger from the challenging environment. If costs really can be cut by more than 10 percent per annum, the projected growth scenario looks perfectly viable.

The UAE, among the highest per capita emitters of greenhouse gas in the world, has been pushing for more environmentally friendly regulations to tackle rapid economic growth and population expansion. Studies have shown that the solar resources of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are colossal. The coming decade promises exciting times for the solar energy lobby.


Fossil Fuels or Solar Future? We must Choose Carefully.


Recent reports on the current status of the reserves of fossil fuels point to a need to switch to alternative energies such as solar power. The thinking behind our current economic policies has driven an exponential increase in our energy usage over the last 100 years. Unfortunately, the worldwide reserves of oil, gas and coal are limited.

Even without considering environmental impacts, it is clear that at some stage we will not be able to meet our ever increasing energy needs from a finite supply of these non-renewable resources.


We all use electricity every day, and now we can have the facts on how it is generated. Understanding how fossil fuel power stations generate electricity is important if we are to have productive discussion about this at both the personal and governmental levels.


Solar Solutions for the UAE


The UAE is finally making the most of its sun-drenched habitat. Perhaps being slow off the mark, the country is speeding ahead to develop avant-garde technology to feed a growing solar industry.

The UAE is finally making the most of its sun-drenched habitat. Perhaps being slow off the mark, the country is speeding ahead to develop avant-garde technology to feed a growing solar industry which, in just over a decade, will attract US$20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) in investments and will avoid the emission of 362 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere.

The Middle East and North Africa are perfectly placed to play a leading role in the lucrative future solar power industry, says a report by Greenpeace, the European Solar Thermal Power Industry Association and the International Energy Agencys Solar PACES program. It also says that by 2025, the industry will attract nearly US$20 billion a year in investment, employ 54,000 people, and have avoided the emission of 362 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere--roughly what Japan emits each year.

The projections are based on anticipated advances in solar technology and the expectation that countries will increasingly adopt it due to concerns about climate change and energy security.


Exporting Solar Energy


Algeria and Morocco could one day be exporting solar energy to markets in Europe, as they will soon be connected to European energy networks.

In fact, in the Middle East in particular, where sunny days are abundant, the sun is the ideal renewable energy source of the future. The manner by which the sun provides energy to the earth and the non-polluting nature of that energy are key factors in its popularity in some Middle Eastern countries.

Recently, countries such as Qatar and organizations such as UNESCO have initiated numerous solar energy projects although the history of large-scale solar energy use dates back to the first solar power station connected to a national grid in Adrawo, Sicily.

Solar energy provides electricity via photovoltaic cells. Sunlight reaching the land surface of our planet can produce the equivalence of 1,600 times the total energy consumption of the world; the amount of solar energy derived from the suns radiation on just one square kilometre is about 4,000 megawatts, enough to light a small town. Yet, solar energy produces none of the by products associated with crude oil and natural gas.

The Middle East is joined by others in its efforts to benefit from solar energy. The Mir space station has received partial and sometimes total power through solar cells; one Japanese manufacture provides a kit complete with PV roofs.


Floating Islands: With Thermal Energy, They Will Provide Energy Round the Clock


Cutting-edge solar technology coming out of Ras Al Khaimah is set to push the UAE even further down its path to a solar revolution, and give beachgoers something to ponder.

Giant discs covered in solar panels and launched at sea to capture the suns rays and create electricity and hydrogen could be visible on the UAEs coastline in a number of years. A prototype of a floating solar island is currently being developed at the headquarters of the Swiss centre of electronic and micro technology (CSEM or Centre Suisse dElectronique et de Microtechnique) in Ras Al Khaimah.

Funded by the government of RAK, the US$5 million (Dh18.35 million) project equipped with thermal solar panels will first be tried and tested in the desert before being launched at sea.

Our objective with this project is to answer a growing need for energy, not just renewable energy but energy in general, said a spokesperson from CSEM-UAE. The prototype will be tested in the RAK desert. We need energy as our current consumption is constantly being underestimated, he said. All the solar panels are being created here as well which will allow us to develop a solar energy industry linked to our solar expansion. The actual solar island which has already generated interest from neighboring Bahrain, will measure 5 kilometers in length and be 20 meters high. The whole platform will adjust its position to the course of the sun to guarantee a maximum yield rate. The prototype will provide an energy supply 24 hours a day, irrespective of time of day or night. The peak power will amount to approximately 1 mega watt, with an average power of 250 kilowatt, while annual energy production is expected to reach 2.2 gigawatt-hours.


Parking Meters and Street Lights: Best for Places where Providing Mains Supply is Costly


Parking meters and now street lights are getting the solar treatment in Dubai. Motorists have been able to pay for parking from solar powered parking meters dotted around the city for nine years already.

Solar powered street lights are also very popular in Dubai and are promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle at the very beginning.

PTL SolarTM provides solar street lighting solutions which work store energy from the sun throughout the day and automatically turn on at dusk and switch off again at dawn.

Powering street lights with the sun means that they can be positioned anywhere and specifically in places where providing a mains supply is expensive. The solar panel is guaranteed for 20 years and can reduce labor costs and increase street safety. In Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai, UAE, many companies are opting GRENLiteTM Solar Lighting technology for external lighting systems.


Homes and Housing: They Also Tap into Solar


After solar street lights and solar parking meters, solar powered homes are also playing an important role in the society we are living in.

PTL SolarTM provides residential solar housing solutions that are stand alone units with no connection from the local grid network. It also uses a fraction of energy from the local power network where the environment is not supportive.

Implementing very first Solar Home Power Systems Project in Ajman, PTL SolarTM has drastically reduced the carbon emissions and the cost of electricity by powering generators on solar which run full night and power the accessories in home.


Thin-Film Technologies Are Gaining Market Share


The thin-film PV modules are getting attention in Middle East, which take less material to produce, and to promising new markets. The expansion plans are impressive: according to Bank Sarasins estimates, these technologies will be able to increase their market share from 12% at present to 23% in 2012. Although they currently have a comparatively low efficiency in the region of 7-11%, this is likely to be compensated by lower costs and a steeper learning curve.

In order for growth in the PV industry to continue at such high levels, new markets other than the traditionally dominant mature markets of Germany, Japan, the USA and Spain need to be developed. The Middle East as well as North Africa provides best conditions for solar power-based energy production, taking advantage of high irradiation levels coupled with vast and scarcely populated regions.

New solar-based applications such as solar car park lights, solar outdoor lighting and solar power plants will clearly boost the demand for solar technologies in these countries. An essential parameter for a broadly supported solar market development, is the growing number of wise oil sheiks that plan beyond petroleum, a crucial factor for the continuous growth of the industry.


GCC Investors Support Solar Energy


Dubai, an oil-producing member state of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf, is closely examining the idea of producing hydrogen as environmentally benign, zero-emission automotive fuel

Alternative energy technologies are increasingly being sought out as oil prices have surged. But which technologies are likely to be successful in meeting a significant share of our energy needs?

The three main non exhaustible sources of energy: (such as wind, solar energy and geothermal).

The economy is not the only aspect to be considered. Countries concerned about the environment are ready to promote the use of clean energy--even if it costs more. And if you look at the long term cost, in a global perspective, it is more economical to prevent CO2 pollution than to try to repair the damage after the fact. Its a good investment.

The drive for a clean environment is going to lead more and more countries to subsidize alternative energy. These considerations are already boosting the use of one technology: solar energy panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) cells, on rooftops.

However, when PV cells are used to generate power that is then channelled into the main electricity grid, it can have an impact on a countrys overall energy consumption. This is the most promising use of solar energy today.

A typical home PV rooftop system provides 3-5 kilowatts of electricity, which is the equivalent of what a home uses. Such a system costs approximately $5,000 to $7,000 to install. So it takes a long time to pay for itself. To make it more appealing, governments provide subsidies to cover part of the cost of installing the system. Another way is to pay for the energy that a PV-panel-equipped household supplies to the electricity company.

The sunnier the location, the more economical the technology becomes. Every year, 630,000 terawatt hours in the form of solar energy falls unused on the deserts of the so-called MENA states of the Middle East and North Africa. In contrast, Europe consumes just 4,000 terawatt hours of energy a years mere 0.6% of the unused solar energy falling in the desert.

The interest and growth in the use of solar energy should increase in the next few years as relations improve between countries, and awareness of the blessings in our physical environment expands among mankind. PTL SolarTM foresees a nation in which buildings will conserve and produce its own energy supply, provide a safe and healthy environments new generation cost-effective REpublic of SolarTM.

REpublic of SolarTM is a modern global concept, drawn out from Powering Sustainable Growth which aims to facilitate the long-term development of ecosystems prerequisite for the sustainability of future generations. It is a conurbation designed to boost sustainability with as little environmental impact as possible. By utilizing the energy which flows daily from the sun, its attainable to have less polluted cities and reduced CO2 emissions.

Due to price, policy and risk advantages in electricity and fuel, the fastest growing segments are and will remain, in the foreseeable future, renewable power and clean fuels. By understanding these concepts, one can evaluate how their actions affect the quality of life and the environment of their community, nation and world.



For more information, please send your e-mails to pved@infothe.com.

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