UAE solar association rebrands to reflect wider Middle East scope

The first solar association in the UAE has renamed itself in an attempt to reflect the anticipated growth of the solar industry across the Middle East.

The Middle East Solar Industry Association (Mesia) came into being on Monday, after changing its name from the Emirates Solar Industry Association, which was originally founded in 2009.

"We felt it was a natural evolution," said the president of Mesia, Vahid Fotuhi. "We think that, more and more, the solar market will evolve across the Middle East, not just Dubai or Abu Dhabi."

Mesia has forecast the region to eventually be able to generate more than 84 GW of power once fully developed – which would be worth approximately $155 billion in combined projects.

Most of Mesia’s 120 members had already expanded beyond the UAE into neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, which encouraged the association itself to follow suit and broaden its scope.

"This move is a reflection of the increasing relevance of solar power in the Middle East," added Fotuhi. The region is blessed with high levels of solar radiation, and the noises coming from Jordan – where 170 MW of solar projects are expected in the next 12 months – and Saudi Arabia are positive, but the hard facts remain: solar power capacity in the Middle East remains negligible when compared to conventional energy sources.

Whether this rebranding has any tangible impact on efforts to improve the region’s standing in the solar market remains to be seen, but Fotuhi is confident that the Middle East, led by the UAE, can develop its solar infrastructure to a level where it is able to compete on the world stage.

"The UAE is a natural hub for the Middle East, and we feel that many of our members will keep their presence here while still exploring opportunities in other countries in the region."