Do you have any plans for the 23-24 of December? If not, perhaps you should consider booking a ticket to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates to attend the the second annual Gulf Solar Conference aimed at accelerating the expansion of solar power in the Gulf region. According to conference organizers, though every square kilometer in the Gulf region receives the sunshine equivalent of 1.5 million barrels of oil, the overflow of cheap oil has until now held back the exploitation of the great energy source. However, the leaders of the region are slowly coming around to the idea and point to examples such as the MASDAR project in Abu Dhabi and the new KAUST university in Saudi Arabia.
The keynote speakers do not only represent a wide range of backgrounds, from the private industry to government officials and World Bank professionals, but also a variety of countries ranging from the UAE and Saudi Arabia to the U.S. and Israel.
Some of the key challenges that will be discussed include how current economics of solar stack up relative to oil and electricity prices in the Gulf, how to make solar cost competitive in the region, what incentives are being developed for solar power generation, which technologies will succeed, and how can they be optimized for harsh desert climates.
There are several concrete examples of this new push, such as an initial investment of $150 million from the Saudi Arabian Vision Electro Mechanical Co. Vision has been established with the goal to develop, manufacture and operate solar power plants to generate electricity. Another example is Abu Dhabi, where the electricity supplier Abu Dhabi Distribution Company plans to install a meter for every apartment, and a solar panel on every roof.
These efforts are not only limited to the Gulf region; Egypt is also planning to build a 100-megawatt solar power plant in order to meet the growing electricity needs facing the country.
Photo and story by Green Power Conferences
More on solar power: