Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTech) is working to bring massive improvements to galvanize the solar industry across the globe.
The company is committed to producing over 6,500MW (6.5GW) worth of photovoltaic solar facilities to promote renewable energy, said a top official of QSTech.
It has joined hands with global leaders — SolarWorld and Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG — both German companies manufacturing and marketing photovoltaic products worldwide.
QSTech, a member of Qatar Foundation, has made significant investments in the photovoltaic businesses Centrotherm and Solar World, a move expected to strengthen its position across the photovoltaic value chain in the world.
“One of our visions is to be a globally leading integrated company. Getting involved in Solar World, which is the major producer of panels in Europe and the US and Centrotherm, a general combined technology provider with 95 percent of the polysilicon market share worldwide and 45 percent of the semiconductors market,” Dr Khalid K Al Hajri, Chairman and CEO, QSTech, said in an interview with London-based magazine World Finance.
“With the three of us working together on research and development, benefiting from each of ours’ experience, know-how and knowledge: that also will be a huge force through the use of Qatar Science and Technology Park and QF. We think this will bring about a lot of improvements in the solar industry across the globe. And mainly we’ll start in the Mena region,” Dr Al Hajri added.
With growing environmental awareness about promoting renewable sources of energy high on the international agenda, especially after the recent Paris agreements came into force, Middle East countries, including Qatar, with one of the highest sunshine duration values in the world, is engaging with this energy transformation, diversifying into solar.
On the future projections about the solar energy industry, Dr Al Hajri said by 2040 about 60 percent of the world’s energy needs will be met by renewable sources and 26 percent of that will be solar. QSTech is helping meet this demand.
Last year, 2015, was the first time when investment in renewables and in solar went up, while investment in oil and gas came down. So that’s how solar will help overcome some of these challenges of climate change.
QSTech’s polysilicon production plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City, spread across an area of 1.2 million square meters, is the first of its kind in the Middle East. It aspires to be a globally integrated leading organization in the solar industry.
“We’re adopting a fairly strategic approach. We’re building a polysilicon plant, and by the end of this year it will be producing 8,000 tons. That gives you around 1.3 GW.”
According to Dr Khalid, storage, price competitiveness and fragmentation of the solar industry are some of the critical issues that the industry needs to address through research and development.
However, he also noted that the price of the solar industry is coming down due to technological advancement. “In fact, the price today, if you compare it per megawatt used by cars, it’s around $122/MW using solar, and $118/MW with gas. So you can see the gap is fast closing.”