First Solar is confident about the market, says vice-president of company
Creating a sustainable, solar energy industry should be a top regional priority, according to a senior executive of First Solar – one of the world’s leading solar energy companies and an exhibitor at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
In an interview for the WFES, Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s vice-president of business development for Europe, the Middle East region and Africa, says: “The Mena region obviously has the sun, a fantastic and abundant resource, making it a natural hub for solar energy. The eyes of the world are on the region in terms of development of solar energy, with a lot of leading companies here, making big investments. We believe that it will be one of the leading regions, if not the leading region, for solar energy in the future.
“What we need to do is make sure that the programmes are implemented so that they lead to the creation of a sustainable industry, which would lead to job and local value creation. It is really about harnessing an abundantly available local resource and turning it into an industry. Solar should be at the top of any economic policy in terms of industry creation.”
Burghardt says that First Solar is confident of sustained growth for solar power in the Mena region, with a number of projects completed and many under development.
“Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a lot of dynamism in the sector, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy came out with a white paper that explained how the sector could be developed in the country. The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority in the UAE awarded us a 13 megawatt power plant project, which we recently completed on schedule. In addition, there are other markets such as Morocco and Jordan, which have progressed in terms of rolling out their renewable energy projects,” says Burghardt.
“For net energy exporters, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, solar energy offers an opportunity to displace fuel used for electricity production, which is often subsidised today, turning it into higher value exports. For net importers, such as Jordan, Morocco and Egypt, solar helps in terms of hedging the future cost of electricity, with the added benefit of bringing about energy security,” he adds.
“Hopefully in ten years we will be talking about a big industry with all of the positives that are expected from it and where companies have grown significantly with local partners and have contributed significantly to the electricity production in the markets across the region. I am happy to see First Solar, once again, being involved with the WFES, an important international event that brings government and industry decision makers together to change the future of energy,” concludes Burghardt.
Thursday, December 5- 2013 @ 12:36 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.