SolarWorld Jumps in MENA Solar Market, Opportunities To Grow in 2010

SolarWorld is acquiring a 29 percent stake in the newly founded joint venture Qatar Solar Technologies headquartered in the Emirate of Qatar. The joint venture will establish the first production facility for polysilicon on the Arabian Peninsula. Partners are the Qatar Foundation (70 percent) and the Qatar Development Bank (1 percent).

Qatar Solar Technologies will invest a total of more than $500 millions in construction of the production facility with a planned annual capacity of around 3,600 tons of high-purity polysilicon in its first stage of expansion.

Start of production is planned for the third quarter of 2012. The technology partner for the construction of the production line is the German company Centrotherm Photovoltaics AG with which SolarWorld AG has previously cooperated successfully in the development of its manufacturing facilities.

Including this new announcement, the abundant sun resource in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is now being commercialised as governments and international enterprises speedily begin to enter the multi billion dollar solar market in the region, in the belief of making some multi billion dollar returns.

In 2009 the potential for the region really started to heat up with some of the following announcements:

  • 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 planned between 2010 and 2016 and 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.

New Solar Today has invited Ministry of Energys and Renewable Agencies across the region to the  to disclose their solar agenda for 2010 and beyond at MENASOL 2010 – 2nd North Africa and Middle East Solar Conference & Expo, 4-5 May, Cairo.


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