Solar panel makers see business potential in UAE

Solar panel manufacturers are hoping to pick up orders from alternative energy projects in the UAE and the Middle East.

A number of projects similar to Abu Dhabi's $22 billion (Dh80.8bn) Masdar zero-emissions city are being planned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other countries, said an official from Sharp Solar.

They include Dubai's proposed eight million sq ft Enpark, the Qatar Energy Park, the Shams Maan project in Jordan and a zero-emissions city in Saudi.

"Masdar is the first major alternative energy project in the region but there are others in the pipeline in other emirates, Qatar and Jordan," Mohannad Al Shami, Solar Business Development Manager at Sharp Middle East, told Emirates Business at The Big 5 exhibition.
"Enpark, Dubai's first energy and environment free zone, is a long-term project to address power shortages in the city and the industrial areas of Sharjah, Ajman and Ras al Khaimah. It was announced earlier but has been delayed by the financial crisis.

"Such projects will require not only solar panels but also other power infrastructure. There is great potential for tapping solar energy in the emirates. There are 310 sunny days in the region and solar power can be integrated into the grid to provide power to factories during daytime."
Many industrial units in the free zones and other industrial areas in the Northern Emirates face acute power shortages and there are serious plans to develop alternative energy, especially solar power. "A number of factories in the Sharjah industrial zones and many new buildings in Ajman and other Northern Emirates depend on diesel generators," said Al Shami. "Some factories in industrial areas get only five or six hours of electricity each day."

Sharp, which is showcasing its solar products at The Big 5, has expanded its production in six factories to meet the expected demand.

Annual electricity demand in the UAE is growing at between seven and 10 per cent – double the global rate. Despite the slowdown, there will be a need for power and the proposed nuclear project will take many years to complete. – Emirates Business 24|7


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