GCC to emerge as solar energy hub in near future

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A view of the proposed King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE). Photo – Alanod-solar.us

Solar energy will dominate the upcoming renewable energy development in the Gulf region, a newly published research report said on Wednesday.

The Gulf Cooperation Council states, largest producers of oil and gas in the world, have started to focus on diversifying power generation sources and will be including renewable sources of energy in their energy basket, the study said. It added that increasing pressure on the natural fossil fuel resources due to the growing population and economy as one of the major reasons for the policy shift. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Oman have all targeted 10% of power production from renewable sources of energy by 2020 and are rapidly moving towards realising their targets, the report entitled “GCC Renewable Energy Sector Analysis” by KuicK Research revealed.

As per the findings, the Gulf region receives the highest daily solar radiation in the world, especially during the summer months (April-August) when the sunlight is at its highest for the maximum number of hours. The GCC countries enjoy good amount of sunlight for about 8 months in a year (March-October) thanks to the topography.

The region also lies in the highest band of insolation in the world and forms a major part of the huge 18 TWe of the total worldwide solar radiation, thanks to its expansive desert and arid climate. Solar insolation received by the region encourages the use of solar photovoltaics and concentrating solar power, the two most popular technologies for solar power generation in the world.

Kuwait has the highest amount of solar radiation at about 8,000 W hr/m2 followed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“Solar holds the key to renewable energy development in the GCC region as it is the single most abundant renewable source of energy available there. Power produced from solar energy is efficient and cheaper as compared to other renewable sources of energy,” the research report said as it investigated the solar power potential of the region and individual countries.

It also noted that huge investments and research studies are part of the efforts to tap solar energy in the region and bolster renewable energy development. The study disclosed that GCC governments are spending around 85 to 90% of the money on renewable energy, and especially on solar technologies.

The “GCC Renewable Energy Sector Analysis” research report also documented the major initiatives being taken in GCC countries to help boost their power production from solar energy. “The future of solar power in the GCC region is as bright as sunshine,” the report concluded.

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