|20 November, 2019

GCC to create around 200,000 solar power jobs by 2030

UAE is predicted to account for 45 percent of total renewable energy jobs, followed by Saudi Arabia at 33 percent by 2030

Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (MASDAR) looks out at the solar power plant Shams 1 during its official inauguration at Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Image for illustrative purpose.

Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (MASDAR) looks out at the solar power plant Shams 1 during its official inauguration at Madinat Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Image for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Ben Job

The Gulf states boast vast expanses of sun-soaked desert that is conducive for producing cheap electricity using the solar photovoltaic (PV) technology.

Given GCC's ambitious renewable energy targets and the availability of year-round sunny weather, solar PV has become the GCC’s cheapest source of new electricity, according to a 2019 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Renewables have become a central element of energy planning in the region.

By 2030, IRENA predicts the GCC will have 40GW of utility-scale PV projects and almost 200,000 solar power jobs.

UAE will account for 45 per cent of total renewable energy jobs in the region, followed by Saudi Arabia at 33 percent by 2030, the report said. 

GRAPHIC 1: Renewable energy jobs by 2030, by country Source: IRENA 

Together, solar technologies – including CSP and solar PV (small and large) – would account for 89 percent of the renewable energy jobs expected in 2030, according to the report. 

Solar careers in 2030 would include 124,000 solar PV jobs, 50,000 concentrated solar power (CSP) jobs, and 23,000 jobs for small-scale solar rooftop projects.

GRAPHIC 2: Renewable energy jobs in 2030, by technology Source: IRENA

According to the IRENA report, the UAE hosts close to 79 percent of the GCC’s solar PV installed capacity and is leading the global solar power innovation.

"The largest share of jobs (67 percent in 2030) would be in construction and installation. As markets mature and local manufacturing increases, the share of jobs in the manufacturing segment is likely to rise," said the report.

Initially, expats are expected to represent a significant share of the renewable energy workforce across all segments of the value chain.

The Emirates Water and Electricity Company’s Noor Abu Dhabi recently became the world’s largest single operational solar power plant at 1.18GW, and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)’s 5GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is among the world’s largest single-site solar parks.

“As the cost of large-scale solar electricity generation has dropped by 60-80 percent over the past ten years, it is now one of the cheapest new builds for electricity in the GCC and Middle East,” said Petri Isotalus, Investment Director at Finland-headquartered renewable fund manager and developer, Taaleri Energia.

The firm has a 1.6GW portfolio of wind and solar assets across the Middle East, Europe, and the US. Taaleri and Masdar are co-investors in the 200MW Baynouna, the largest solar project in Jordan to date.

“As the GCC’s solar power market continues to increase, there is a growing need for inverters across solar PV and storage systems in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale converters,” said Stefano Domenicali, CEO & Vice President, Ingeteam.

Rizwana Salim, Marketing and Digital Transformation Specialist at Fronius sees great business opportunities available in the region.

“The GCC’s rapidly growing solar market shows the need for countries to deliver reliable and comprehensive supply of solar energy 24 hours a day,” said Salim.

The World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), from January 13-16, 2020.

(Reporting by Mily Chakrabarty; editing by Seban Scaria)

(mily.chakrabarty@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2019

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