ABU DHABI -- Governments, banks and landlords in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are urged to join forces to promote solar rooftop adoption, saving on energy costs and creating "green" jobs, industry experts announced today in the build-up to the World Future Energy Summit 2016.
By 2020, MENA is set to see renewable energy investment of $35 billion per year, according to the International Renewable Energy Authority (IRENA), with increasingly lower-cost solar photovoltaic modules helping countries to diversify their energy mix.
As a result, the GCC's solar capacity is expected to reach 10 gigawatts, representing a market opportunity of at least $10 billion to 2020, with solar rooftops in the UAE reaching 2.5 gigawatts and a $3 billion opportunity, according to a Frost & Sullivan report.
Supporting solar rooftop innovation is Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA), whose Shams Dubai initiative connects solar rooftops to DEWA's power grid, in support of Dubai Plan 2021 and the Smart Dubai initiative, launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Part of the objective is to make Dubai one of the 'smartest' cities in the world for energy supply and demand.
"Dubai Clean Energy Strategy aims to provide 7 percent of Dubai's energy from clean energy sources by 2020, 25 percent by 2030 and 75 percent by 2050. The shift towards using clean and renewable energy sources has many benefits for the environment, economy, and natural resources. For example, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park will help achieve a reduction of over 6.5 million tons of carbon emissions, and support the green initiatives and programs implemented by the Government of Dubai to reduce carbon emissions," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO, DEWA.
"DEWA also launched Shams Dubai to install PV panels on rooftops of buildings and connect them to the grid. The surplus electricity is exported to DEWA's grid," added HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer.
At the World Future Energy Summit, DEWA will also showcase plans to make 30,000 buildings energy efficient by 2030, install 1 million smart meters by 2020, and deploy electric vehicle charging stations throughout Dubai with its Green Charger program.
Supporting new business opportunities and innovation in the region's solar market is the WFES Solar Expo, where more than 150 solar exhibitors will interact with innovators, project developers, and buyers to experience the latest solar innovations, learn about solar trends, and network with solar experts at the WFES conference.
WFES Solar Expo will also include key players such as Abdul Latif Jameel, ADC Energy Systems, ALEC Energy, AMANA, EFG Hermes, Renewable Energy Company (REC), SkyPower, SolarWorld, Suntech Power, and Yingli Solar.
"In the Middle East and North Africa, solar rooftops have gone from a niche environmental market to a game-changer with high potential for homes, offices, or mega-projects, and can pay for themselves after only four years," said Dr Raed Bkayrat, Director - Research, Middle East Solar Industry Association, and Vice President of Business Development - Middle East, First Solar.
"However, for widespread solar rooftop adoption, landlords must understand the concept, governments need to provide regulations and incentives to support landlords, and banks need to be able to find innovative ways to finance solar rooftops," added Dr Raed Bkayrat.
Hosted by Masdar, WFES 2016 kicked off Monday (yesterday) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre until Jan. 21, 2016, co-located with International Water Summit and EcoWASTE.
© The Saudi Gazette 2016
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