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Living in the Sun Belt : The Solar Power Potential for the Middle East

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Global Sun Belt - Solar - Middle East - SolarOne - Bahrain

The Global Sun Belt is the area around the world which gets the most sun per day, month and year. These sun rich areas are often hot deserts.Global - Sun - Belt - Solar - Middle East

Living in the Sun Belt means regular, streaming sunlight. Countries in the Sun Belt can experience extremely hot summers and little rain.

Sun Belt country Kuwait has seen the hottest ever temperature recorded on Earth. 54 degrees Celsius! That is a whole lot of heat coming from a whole lot of sun.

The Global Sun Belt is the area where the most solar power stands to be harvested. By 2030, the 66 countries in the global Sun Belt could reach an installed solar PV capacity of 405 GW. This could provide electricity to around 300 million people. It makes perfect sense to centre the world’s solar energy plants in our sunny back yards. So, how have we done so far?

Let’s take a look at solar developments around the Middle East. We can see precisely where solar power is heading in the Middle East.


By 2030, the 66 countries in the Global Sun Belt could reach an installed solar PV capacity of 405 GW.

Saudi Arabia is already known as an energy power house. What it has in oil reserves dwarfs those in countries around it. But, oil is non renewable. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. The Saudi Arabian Oil Company has realized this. They have expressed an interest in developing solar energy as a renewable alternative. And why not? Their deserts are a fertile ground for harvesting the sun’s power.

Forbes magazine describes it best. When it comes to power, Saudi Arabia is the Saudi Arabia of solar energy and Riyadh has been developing Saudi’s domestic solar power. They strive towards achieving economies of scale. This would boost solar energy up in the power markets. Economies of scale makes solar power a viable alternative to oil and natural gas.

The United Arab Emirates is all about style. This translates directly to their feats of modern solar architecture. An example of their panache at work is The Vertical Village. This is a real estate development which self sustains its power through a “skirt” of solar panels.  Masdar is the UAE’s renewable energy producer. They are involved in projects both domestically in the UAE as well as throughout the Middle East. Investment is well underway to keep the UAE at the top of their solar game.

Now let’s take a look at energy importers.

Noor-Solar-Complex

Noor Solar Complex – Morocco

Countries can end up spending a huge amount on importing fuel. Wouldn’t it make sense to look at alternatives? This is what Morocco and Jordan are now contemplating. Morocco imports about 90% of its energy.

Now, it is looking at solar power as a sustainable, local alternative. They are taking this idea and putting it to huge amounts of use.

Morocco is building the world’s largest solar power plant. The Noor Solar Complex uses concentrated solar technology. This generates heat and powers turbines to supply energy. Their goal by 2025 is to use solar power to account for half of its electricity production. Afterwards, they plan on becoming a solar exporter. So from energy importer to energy exporter, Morocco stands to completely overhaul its economy.

All using the power of the Sun Belt.

Jordan imports more than 95 percent of its energy. This takes up about 16% of the country’s GDP.  To recoup these costs, they have been making efforts to diversify their energy portfolio. Moving from importing oil and gas to producing solar energy has become a priority.

Recently, they have also added wind turbine fields. Jordan is also looking at generating nuclear energy. It has set a lofty goal for 2018. They aim for renewable energy sources to account for 20% of their generation capacity. Being in a prime Sun Belt location, we think that solar power will play a major role there.

Being in the Global Sun Belt means so much more than hiding from the summer heat. Innovations are underway to turn the Sun Belt into a global source of renewable power.

We at Solar One are incredibly excited, we aim at placing Bahrain on the Solar Power map – this is truly the time to be Putting Power Back In The Hands Of The People.