First Solar Takes on More Serious Desertec Role

First Solar, Dii, Desertec, clean tech, solar power, renewable energy, MENA, North Africa, Middle EastFirst Solar has until recently participated as an associate partner of the Dii initiative designed to develop renewable energy projects throughout the Middle East and North Africa for eventual evacuation to Europe. But now one of the world’s most prolific renewable energy producers has taken on a more serious role as shareholder.

Particularly well poised to supply solar modules to countries in the MENA region given that their thin film solar cells can withstand high temperatures and minimal water, First Solar already has a firm foot in the renewable door with a host of solar projects in various Gulf countries.

“Our extended dedication to Dii as a shareholder emphasizes First Solar’s commitment to the MENA region, where we see tremendous potential to build a sustainable market for solar power,” said Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Dii is the ideal industrial initiative to bring power from the deserts into reality.”

“I am very proud that First Solar decided to increase its commitment to our initiative,” said Paul van Son, CEO of Dii, who added that with 3 gigawatts of solar energy projects in the pipeline, First Solar has what it takes to help realize the “Desertec vision” of creating an industrial scale renewable energy market by 2050.

A leading provider of industrial-scale photovoltaic plants, First Solar is also well-established in the Middle East.

In addition to a new office in Dubai, the company is building an office in Saudi Arabia and a 13 MW PV plant for Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) – the first phase of the USD 3.3 billion Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park that will eventually pump 1,000MW back into the United Arab Emirates’ national grid.

First Solar also erected a 5 MW PV system for the Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and even donated a small PV system to King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, responding to press that claimed Desertec has lost track of its own goals following the recent launch of Desertec Saudi Arabia, the Desertec foundation pointed out the difference between it and Dii GmbH.

“Dii works particularly with German industry to create the conditions for projects in various countries in North Africa,” a recent press release emphasized.

“The DESERTEC Foundation,” on the other hand “is committed to the worldwide implementation of the DESERTEC Concept: a solution in the fight for a sustainable global energy policy and thus also for security, peace and social stability.”

“We support, advise and fight for the implementation of these solutions. Our objectives are clear and we believe in them!”

Photo Credit: boutmuet via Flickr

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