Article originally published on solar builder magazine, in June 1st, 2015
Solar energy pricing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now reached parity with fossil fuel models, according to a report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This ‘REmap 2030’ report, researched in conjunction with Masdar Institute and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of Energy and Climate Change, says that solar is economically attractive and commercially viable for the first time ever in the nation’s history.
Solar is the critical resource and focus for the UAE, with different forms of solar energy accounting for more than 90% of renewable energy use in the IRENA ‘REmap 2030’ report. PV module prices, as perhaps the best example of renewables’ new affordability, have fallen by close to 75% since 2008.
International demand is growing beyond just the UAE, says this report on developing nations
But the IRENA report said that the most important enabling factor for renewable energy in the UAE will be the empowerment of government agencies to take holistic, comparative views of energy costs and act on them.
Solar power, together with other renewable energy sources, could save the country billions of dirhams annually while introducing innumerable health and environmental benefits, while also acting to preserve precious existing fossil fuel resources.
“We believe that, for the UAE and wider Arabian Gulf, solar power is perhaps the most promising of all renewable energy sources – creating jobs while preserving existing energy reserves – and that is why we have created a dedicated exhibition zone in which this ever-popular renewable energy technology can be showcased. The event has always attracted the world’s biggest names in the solar sector, and, now, we are clustering them together in one area,” said Naji El Haddad, group event director of the annual World Future Energy Summit hosted by Masdar and part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
In 2015, there were 154 exhibiting companies from the solar sector occupying a gross space of 7,200 square meters, with more than 6,500 solar industry professionals in attendance, many of them from across the region where the uptake of solar energy is on the rise. Egypt, as one example, recently announced that the country plans to generate 18,000 MW of solar power over the next five years.
In fact, the 2016 running of the event will see the launch of ‘WFES Solar Expo’, a dedicated area on the show floor for showcasing solar technology and innovation, and bringing together experts, innovators, suppliers, and buyers. More than 150 exhibitors have already confirmed their participation, with such global names as First Solar and Hanergy committed to take part in the exhibition and discussion proceedings.
“The potential of solar power to quickly transform the energy sector in a lasting way should not be underestimated. And the related technologies and solutions from around the world are progressing so quickly that the industry is calling out for a single place at which to meet and advance solar power issues. Naturally, that place is Abu Dhabi,” added El Haddad.
The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2016 will take place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre 18-21 January 2016, and will form the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2016, with 650 exhibiting companies from more than 40 countries, and more than 32,000 attendees from 170 countries. In addition to Solar Expo, International Water Summit and EcoWASTE will also be co-located at the WFES event.