Qatar Solar Energy has launched an enormous solar panel factory in Qatar, and they even want to expand production further to 2.5 GW. Qatar, a country located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Gulf, has an arid climate and long summers. Qatar receives 11 hours of sunshine per day in May (when summer begins), 11 in June, July, August, and 10 hours per day in September (when summer ends).
This combination of qualities is superb for solar power plants, as solar power generation is almost proportional to the amount of sunlight. A lack of rain clouds also improves the consistency of the sunlight received, reducing solar power variability, and the need for energy storage or backup.
‘It’s an exciting future for solar energy and we haven’t even scratched the surface, Fezzani told journalists during a tour of the facility outside of Doha.’
That’s true! Many other countries such as Germany are successfully utilizing solar energy with only 7 to 8 hours of sunlight during summer, and their summer is two months shorter. This means that Qatar can generate much more power using the same quantity of panels.
‘In line with Qatar’s 2030 Vision, we are making tangible and determined steps towards deploying new and renewable energy and establishing Qatar as a technology development and research hub in these new energy industries,’ says QSE on their website.
Qatar is the world’s sixth largest producer of natural gas, so why the interest in solar power?
- It is one of the most environmentally friendly options;
- Qatar could export more gas and bring in foreign exchange revenue instead of depleting their own gas reserves;
- Natural gas power plants consume a tremendous amount of water, which is a precious resource. Utilizing renewable energy more enables them to save their own water and reduce the need for water rationing (if any) because solar power plants require very little water;
Why are the biggest fossil fuel producers in the world building so much renewable energy infrastructure?
You would have to ask them. However, the likely reason is that they don’t want to be dependent on finite fossil fuels in the future, as they will become too expensive. They also understand that the issues of climate change and air pollution need to be addressed.
Qatar can continue to build their infrastructure, solar panels, and economy with the revenue generated by its natural gas so that it will be more prepared for shortages of the finite fossil fuel.
(Nicholas Brown blogs at Kompulsa.com)