With the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy plummeting, countries worldwide are adopting large-scale utility projects and off-grid systems. Thanks to ambitious renewable energy targets and vast expanses of sun-soaked desert, solar PV has become the GCC’s cheapest source of new electricity, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
By 2030, IRENA predicts the GCC will have 40GW of utility-scale PV projects and nearly 200,000 solar power jobs. Solar careers in 2030 will include 124,000 solar PV jobs, 50,000 concentrated solar power (CSP) jobs, and 23,000 jobs for small-scale solar rooftop projects.
As the region’s leading solar marketplace, the Solar Expo & Forum will be supporting this transition when it returns to Abu Dhabi next January. Held during the 2020 World Future Energy Summit and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the specialised event brings together leading solar power engineering companies, technology providers, and financiers.
Visitors will discover a full range of solar trends, deals and opportunities to accelerate the success of solar projects across the Middle East and North Africa Region, as well as new technologies and innovation solar photovoltaics, solar thermal and energy storage.
“As solar power adoption increases worldwide, the Solar Expo & Forum will bring together the world’s leading solar technology providers, government agencies, and thought leaders,” said Grant Tuchten, Group Event Director, World Future Energy Summit. “Visitors to the Solar Expo & Forum can come to see solar technology and innovation, source leading-edge solar products for their markets, and network with leading solar project owners to learn and share best practices.”
The UAE, which IRENA says hosts 65 percent of the GCC’s solar PV installed capacity, is leading global solar power innovation. 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, which will be exhibiting at the Solar Expo, has a 1.6GW portfolio of wind and solar assets across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. For example, Taaleri and Masdar are co-investors in the 200MW Baynouna, the largest solar project in Jordan to date, and in the 158MW Čibuk 1 wind farm, the largest wind power project in Serbia to date, to develop further renewable energy opportunities in Eastern Europe.
“The Solar Expo & Forum is a critical event for Taaleri Energia to accelerate the regional and global transition to renewable energy,” said Isotalus. “We will seek to source new business leads and exchange best practices in solar innovation.”
Apart from Taaleri Energia, leading international Solar Expo exhibitors are set to include solar power developers such as Masdar, Constructions Industrielles de la Méditerranée (CNIM), Skypower and Marubeni; smart grids firms including Huawei, Ingeteam, Fronius, and Sungrow; solar trackers NEXTracker, PiA Solar, and Soltec; and solar panel manufacturers such as LONGi Solar Technology.
Among these, Ingeteam will be exhibiting for the third time at Solar Expo.
“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.
Fronius is also returning to launch its new product line. 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 Solar Expo & Forum is a key event for Fronius to get closer to our customers, and exchange best practices in solar technology innovation.”
As solar tracking technology develops, NEXTracker, the United States-based global firm that designs, manufactures, builds, and services the world’s most advanced single-axis solar tracker systems for power plants, will also return for the third time to the Solar Expo.
“The Middle East and North Africa’s government-driven solar power agendas are positioning the region to become the next big market for solar power,” said Kristan Kirsh, Senior Director Global Marketing, NEXTracker. “The Solar Expo & Forum is a strong platform for NEXTracker to develop new business, strengthen partnerships, and educate the market on our portfolio of smart solar trackers and proven engineering design, to help successfully drive long-term value. We are highly optimistic for MENA’s solar future.”
The World Future Energy Summit, hosted by Masdar and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, a global platform for accelerating the world’s sustainable development, will be held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), from 13-16 January 2020. The largest event of its type in the Middle East and among the most significant in the world, the World Future Energy Summit attracted about 800 exhibitors and 33,500 attendees in 2019.