When coated with layers of dust, solar panels lose their energy-absorbing efficiency and require a regular cleaning schedule. But spending this precious natural resource on energy when many people in the Middle East don’t have enough water to grow food “is simply not possible,” according to Dr. Anthony Patt.
A researcher from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Dr. Patt explained at a Desertec conference in Cairo last year that CSP projects in North Africa using current technology could use up 20 percent of the total water supply. Instead of abandoning solar altogether as a result, Masdar’s Institute of Technology and Siemens AG have jointly committed to developing a new generation of sand-resistant solar panels better suited to our desert region.
The good folks over at Smart Planet reported from a recent Siemens press release that the recent agreement between Masdar and Siemens AG will address the special challenges associated with deploying photovoltaic technology in the Middle East.
Martin Pfund, CEO of Siemens Energy’s photovoltaic business unit, said “Higher revenues gained with solar panels that become less soiled and cost less to clean are an important lever for making photovoltaic electricity competitive, especially in desert regions.”
The year long project will also benefit from Siemens’ decision to base its Middle Eastern headquarters at Masdar City, which lies just outside of Abu Dhabi.
A subsidiary of the government-owned Mubadala development company, Masdar has taken several strides to diversify its portfolio and become a leader in generating homegrown solutions to region-specific challenges.
Other Masdar developments
In just a few months, building will commence on a new Facade Test Center – a collaborative project between Masdar, Fraunhofer’s Institute for Building Physics, and the Institute for Solar Energy Systems that seeks to suss out the most sensible building materials for construction projects in the Middle East.
And BBC News has just reported that Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has signed an agreement with Masdar’s Dr Sultan Al Jaber to share green notes.
“This agreement will mean huge things for Scotland. We will have co-investment, co-research, co-deployment and investment in Scottish renewables, Scottish companies will have opportunities here in Abu Dhabi,” Salmond told BBC’s Scotland’s Good Morning Program.
Putting the U.S. to shame
Aside from the extraordinary progress being made by Desertec in Egypt, Morocco, and Algeria to develop solar resources that could benefit from these dust-resistant solar panels, Abu Dhabi is by far leading the race to secure a renewable future, consistently putting the United States to shame.
:: Smart Planet
image via Tafline Laylin
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