Qatar: Gulf state plans 200 MW solar project

04. December 2012 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers | By:  Max Hall

With commentators questioning the appropriateness of staging the latest UN Climate Change Conference in the capital of Qatar – a country with one of the world's highest levels of GHG emissions per capita – plans have been unveiled for the country's first solar power plant.

Doha.

The announcement about Qatar's first photovoltaic plant was made in the state's capital, Doha.

The president of the Qatar General Electric and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) and the Gulf State's energy minister revealed plans for a 150-200 MW facility at an unidentified location or locations, with the aim of freeing up more gas for export.

In a report in the state-owned Peninsula newspaper, KAHRAMAA president Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari said the new plant was conceived "so we can take advantage of gas sale in the world market at international prices instead of using gas as feedstock in the traditional stations.

"In addition, it will result in positive environmental benefits in reducing emissions of harmful gases, mainly CO2, in the light of fulfilling the requirements of economic and environmental development in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030."

The Qatari government is aiming to generate 20% of its energy from renewables by 2030 and is aiming for 1,800 MW of renewable generation capacity by 2020.

The project announcement stated the scheme would use a mixture of technologies, including solar thermal, and The Peninsula reported it would be developed in two phases.

Phase 1, which would have its engineering, construction and operation tendered in the first three months of 2013, would involve 5 to 10 MW of pilot plants on 'under-utilized' lands and would cost around QRiyal109.5 million (US$30 million).

Phase 2 will involve assessing the results of the initial projects with a view to attracting private sector involvement for an eventual 150 to 200 MW scheme, developed over the following eight years, up to 2020.

"We will implement projects with a production capacity in the range of 150-200 MW over the next eight years at the corporation's stations and its lands," added Al Kuwari, according to the Peninsula report. "KAHRAMAA, ever since its inception in 2000, has been acting in accordance with best international and local standards as Qatar National Vision 2030 envisages environmental management that ensures the harmony between economic and social development."

It is believed the modules for the project will be supplied domestically with the Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) joint venture between Germany's Solar World AG, the Qatar Foundation charity and the Qatar Development Bank securing $1 billion in funding from Masraf Al Rayan in May for a polysilicon plant at Ras Laffan City that will produce 8,000 metric tonnes of poly a year – enough for 6.5 GW of panels.

pv magazine was unable to contact anyone at the Qatari Ministry of Energy for comment.


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