Solar power facilities in the Middle East, with at least ten major projects worth a combined US$6.8 billion, are under way in the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
The UAE continues to lead the way as part of the strategy to reduce its reliance on fossil fueled power generation, spearheaded by the US$600 million Shams 1 in Abu Dhabi, the world's largest concentrated solar power plant which is expected to be completed by August 2012.
In Dubai, the US$3.2 billion Al Maktoum Solar Park is slated to begin construction in 2014 and will reach a peak of 1,000MW production capacity upon its scheduled completion in 2030.
More planned solar power projects in the region include the US$150 million solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) Project in Oman, which will begin construction next year, and the US$525 million 100 MW Solar Power Plant in Kom Ombo, Egypt, also set to begin construction in 2013.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has big plans for the future as it looks to attract US$109 billion in investment to create a solar industry generating a third of the nation's electricity – the equivalent of 41 gigawatts – by 2032.
According to a recent report by GlobalData, the MENA region is tipped as the upcoming solar power investment destination for major market players, with energy experts predicting the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and Jordan to be the key countries fueling further growth. The MENA region is perfectly poised to take advantage of solar technology, with a staggering 630,000 terawatt hours of solar energy falling on the region every year. As such, governments are investing heavily in the application of solar technology.
Yet, solar energy is poised for rapid growth in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region, as a host of public announcements made by regional governments indicate their plans to embrace renewable energy. Saudi, Oman, and Kuwait have all announced plans to produce at least 10 per cent of its energy from solar and renewables by 2020, while Egypt, Jordan, and Algeria have also set similar goals.
MAJOR SOLAR POWER PROJECTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Project Country Projectvalue ($US) Project completion
Shams 1 Solar Plant UAE 600 million Q4 2012
Kuwait Petroleum Corp SPP Kuwait 5 million Q3 2013
Solar EOR Project in Oman Oman 150 million Q4 2013
Solar Power Plant in Oman Oman 500 million Q3 2014
100 MW Solar Power Plant
in Kom Ombo Egypt 525 million Q4 2014
Pilot Solar Power Plant
in Dubai UAE 30 million Q4 2014
Noor 1 – Abu Dhabi UAE 750 million Q3 2015
Maan Photovoltaic Power Plant Jordan 425 million Q3 2015
Ouarzazate Solar Power Plant Morocco 700 million Q4 2015
Al Maktoum Solar Park – Dubai UAE 3.2 billion Q4 2030
Total 6.8 billion