The Middle East, and the Gulf in particular, has been home to record low solar tariffs in recent years. Major projects are being awarded via tenders, with prices gradually closing in on a remarkable 1 USDct/kWh. Of course, this is no coincidence due to the region’s favorable solar conditions: availability of cheap and sunny desert land, low labor costs, cheap project financing, supportive tax regimes, large projects benefitting from economies of scale, well designed tender structures, and decreasing PV component prices.
The state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation has reportedly ended its involvement with the gigawatt scale Dabdaba solar field and asked the national body responsible for drumming up private sector investment to merge it with the 2 GW Shagaya renewables development.
The, variously reported, 1 GW or 1.5 GW, $1.2-1.43 billion ‘Dibdibah’ or ‘Dabdaba’ solar project is reportedly at risk of being abandoned altogether. The ambitious project was supposed to have been tendered in the first quarter of 2018 with a view to completion this year.
The airline industry has been among the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic; carriers are in ‘freefall’ as Glen Peters, research director at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo recently wrote, with governments mulling stimulus packages for airline bailouts. How we react to the coronavirus outbreak is crucial for society as a whole and the solar and energy storage industries can lead the charge in rewriting the status quo.
Solar deployment continued to pick up in the Middle East and North Africa in 2019, the Middle East Solar Industry Association has said in its annual report.
With Kuwait, Qatar and even renewables laggard Saudi Arabia following in the wake of regional clean energy pioneer the UAE, a raft of huge solar tenders is entering the Middle Eastern project pipeline. Obstacles remain to overseas project developers but significant rewards are on offer.
The region’s climate, developing economies and demographic growth are driving increased electricity demand in the Middle East and North Africa. However, as a hub of conventional energy supply, the region has been slow to embrace PV. To capture more of the value chain and deliver the full potential of solar, there are increasing calls for distributed generation deployment to play a bigger role.
With the International Renewable Energy Agency’s number-crunchers predicting almost 5.4 GW of new solar across the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations today, Suhail Mohammed Faraj Al Mazroui said his nation alone would install 6-7 GW of new renewables capacity by 2024, as pv magazine editor-in-chief Jonathan Gifford reports.
In the wake of a COP24 climate change conference which emphasized the need to wind down fossil fuel exploitation rapidly, Kuwait is turning to PV as a sustainable solution – of ramping up its oil production.
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