SolarWorld has climbed on-board the new venture investment called Qatar Solar Technologies. Headquartered in Qatar, this will be the first production facility for polysilicon technologies on the Arabian Peninsula. The plant will have an annual production capacity of around 3,600 tons of high-purity polysilicon during its first stage in 2012.
This investment stems from a recent PV push into the Middle East and North African (MENA) continent, areas, of course, with abundant sunshine. Some governments and investors have begun to invest heavily in these regions, hoping to cash in on the future potential for solar harvesting.
Why the Middle East and North African Continent?
While many of us are still struggling to pay bills, let alone think of investing, this is an area of the globe with plenty of prime land for solar projects, and they are certainly beginning to take shape. Companies investing in the Middle East are poised to continue to grow, or at least have strong and well-diversified futures. That bodes well for any of us with enough left over from bills to put into the burgeoning growth of PV worldwide.
The following projects were announced during 2009. All of them are within the MENA areas:
- Egypt: Cycle Power Island, which will use a 20-MW CSP system was contracted, is currently under construction and expected to start operation in the year 2010.
- Tunisa: Government outlined plans to develop 40 solar projects between 2010 and 2016. 29 will be financed by private sector.
- Morocco: Undertaking a US $9-billion solar energy project, with five solar power generation sites throughout Morocco producing 2,000 MW of electricity by 2020.
- Jordan: The JOAN1 project is expected to enter operation in 2013 and will be the largest CSP project in the world using direct solar steam generation.
- Saudi Arabia: Kingdom’s Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources says solar will be a major contributor to energy supply in the next 5-10 years and has begun building the first solar-powered water desalination plant.
- Masdar & Abu Dhabi: 1.5 GW of CSP is slated for development by 2020, with the first 100 MW already under construction at Madinat Zayed and due for completion in 2011.
- Abu Dhabi: Made $2 billion investment in photovoltaic manufacturing.
- Algeria: Set goal to provide for 10 percent of the energy demand with renewable energy by 2025. One solar thermal plant is under construction.
- Syria: Increase in investment, especially foreign, in non-fossil fuel electricity sector.
The German company Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG will provide the technology for the production line. SolarWorld AG has had successful dealings with Centrotherm PV in conjunction with its manufacturing facilities in the past. Besides SolarWorld, investors include Qatar Foundation (70 percent) and the Qatar Development Bank.
Photo Credit: After Gutenberg