Manama: Research projects on solar energy will receive a boost after Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) and the Spanish Research Centre for Energy Environment and Technology (CIEMAT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday to develop joint work on the issue.

QEERI, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has identified solar energy as one of the core research areas to be conducted with CIEMAT, experts in the field of solar energy research.

The agreement confirms QEERI's move to help Qatar develop a strong knowledge economy and move away from complete reliance upon fossil fuels. Both goals are central to Qatar National Vision 2030 and complement QF's goal of developing unlocking human potential, a statement said.

"Qatar is blessed with huge solar energy resources, and we must always remember that clean, low-cost energy is critical to the development and sustainability of Qatar's economy," Dr Rabi H. Mohtar, QEERI executive director, said. "We look forward to this partnership and hope to take strides towards a guaranteed supply of clean energy built upon our own local knowledge, research and development, taking Qatar from carbon to creativity."

The agreement allows for sharing knowledge and expertise and conducting joint research projects in solar energy and its application to desalination and scientific instrumentation in particular.

It was signed as technology is becoming more affordable and Qatar and the region are likely to become great consumers of solar energy in the near future.

Currently, there is a heavy reliance upon technology designed abroad, which does not perfectly suit Qatar's unique environmental combination of high humidity, heat and dust, the statement said.

CIEMAT has conducted research in the similar environment of southern Spain.

"Through this and similar partnerships with local, regional and international partners, we hope to develop the know-how and the human capacity to reduce the reliance on imported technology" Dr. Mohtar said.

The MoU between QEERI and CIEMAT is intended to last an initial seven years to study and develop solar technology research capacity for the region. At current rates of technological advancement, solar energy is expected to be more affordable than other forms of energy within the next 30 years.