Qatar Solar Energy (QSE) has officially opened one of the largest vertically integrated PV module production facilities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The 300 MW facility, located in the Doha industrial zone of Qatar, is the first significant development of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels in favor of more renewable energy sources.
The QSE facility has already secured a 150 MW supply agreement with Jermyn Capital to supply modules to the Japanese market, in addition to a further 150 MW contract with Power Capital to feed into Thailands growing market. Currently capable of producing 300 MW of solar power capacity per year, QSE says that the facility has the capacity to expand production capabilities to 2.5 GW.
"Qatar Solar Energy is dedicated to democratizing sustainable energy by delivering environmentally responsible solutions to the worlds pressing energy challenges," said QSE CEO Salim Abbassi. "By lowering the cost, our technology will empower individuals and businesses with affordable electricity in developed and emerging markets."
Abbassi called the unveiling of the facility which was attended by environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr and chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra K. Pachauri a significant milestone for Qatar and the MENA region, adding that he hoped it will help secure a sustainable energy source for future generations.
The QSE’s research institute, the Al Jazari Center for Excellence, will collaborate with leading solar energy technology companies with expertise in ingots, wafers, cells, modules and deployment in order to improve synergies across all areas of the PV production sector. The company has already collaborated with GT Advanced Technologies, Meyer Burger, Eurotron, Teamtechnik and a number of other leading PV equipment suppliers as it sought to establish its product offering in the region.
It is believed that QSE will target the world’s "sunbelt regions" and attempt to deliver solar PV solutions designed specifically for performance in these often more challenging environments.
Qatar’s fledgling forays into the solar PV sector have gathered pace in recent months. In February, state-backed Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) acquired a 29% stake in SolarWorld in a move that raised eyebrows throughout the industry.
More widely, the Qatari government released details of a proposed 200 MW solar PV push last fall, which calculated that the country’s solar energy potential equals 1.5 million barrels of crude oil annually, hinting at the potential that lies within this tiny Middle East state.