GN Focus | Qatar

Finding a place in the sun

Qatar’s first solar power project expected by 2020

  • Bloomberg
  • Published: 00:00 December 18, 2012
  • GN Focus

  • Image Credit: Corbis
  • Qatar Foundation, Germany’s SolarWorld AG and the Qatar Development Bank are working on the project

Qatar, which hosted this year’s UN climate talks, plans to tender its first solar power project in the first quarter of 2013, the country’s energy minister said.

The project will generate 200 megawatts of power when completed by 2020, Mohammad Al Sada said last month. The project will produce 2 per cent of the nation’s electricity. It’s the first step in a goal to have 1,800 megawatts of solar power by 2020.

Qatar, which has no large renewable energy plants, joins Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in announcing clean energy plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and related emissions.

“We want to produce more clean energy to save burning natural gas in power plants, which we can sell at higher prices globally,” Al Sada said. The project will use different solar technologies including solar-thermal, he said.

The country is producing poly-silicon in order to produce solar cells that will be used in the project.

The nation aims to boost solar power as part of plans to meet 20 per cent of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030, Qatar Solar Technologies said in October. QSTec is a venture between the private charity Qatar Foundation, Germany’s SolarWorld AG and the Qatar Development Bank.

The venture aims to produce polysilicon, manufacture photovoltaic panels and install the devices that generate electricity directly from the sun in the country. In May, QSTec obtained financing for a $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) polysilicon plant in Ras Laffan City from Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan.

The facility will initially produce 8,000 metric tonnes of polysilicon a year and enough of the raw material for 6.5 gigawatts in panels when at full capacity, according to QSTec.

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