Massive solar panel factory opens in Qatar, long overdue

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Qatar Solar Energy has unveiled a massive factory that will produce high quality solar panels that make the most of the desert sun, a boon not just for the emirate, but potentially for the entire Middle East.

QSE claims that they are now the largest solar power producer in the region with 300 MW capacity, eclipsing the United Arab Emirates, which recently ranked third in the world for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) after Spain and the United States.

At the unveiling, which was attended by a host of dignitaries, QSE told Al Jazeera that they have plans to expand their capacity to 2.5GW, though board member Reyad Fezzani was not willing to predict when they might reach that goal.

“It’s an exciting future for solar energy and we haven’t even scratched the surface,” Fezzani told journalists during a tour of the facility outside of Doha.

Related: Qatar has the world’s largest carbon footprint

Qatar is the sixth largest producer of natural gas, and many of its citizens are among the world’s wealthiest, but the emirate has long recognized the need to bring more renewable energy on board to cope with such difficulties as water scarcity and finite fossil fuels.

“In line with Qatar’s 2030 Vision, we are making tangible and determined steps towards deploying new and renewable energy and establishing Qatar as a technology development and research hub in these new energy industries,” says QSE on their website.

In order to help facilitate research and development, the group established the Al Jazari Center of Excellence is said to host a “highly skilled and equipped R&D Lab Center.”

Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, attended Sunday’s inauguration, Al Jazeera reports.

“What impresses me is that it’s driven by a visionary view of what we should be doing for the future,” he told the paper, adding the facility was “beyond state-of-the-art.”

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