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

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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.

In the Middle East : 5 Solar Architecture Projects that will Amaze

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Solar Architecture is leading the way in the Middle East. This sun rich area has become a hot spot sustainable, solar design at work.

With reports forecasting approximately 4 gigawatts of solar power projects planned across the Middle East for 2016,  developers, architects and engineers are harnessing the power of solar.  Sustainable Architecture is becoming the next thing to look out for, and solar is being incorporated into some amazing feats of modern architecture.

Here are 5 solar architecture projects that amaze us and are true examples of the potential for more Solar Architecture in the Middle East.

1. Dubai Vertical Village – United Arab Emirates

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Dubai Vertical Village

The architects at Graft Lab have created the incredible Vertical Village.  This is a commercial, residential and entertainment development. The Vertical Village uses a Solar powered “skirt” to harness it’s energy. The village’s solar roof emulates a leaf. It has “veins” which break the solar field up into serviceable units. They also transport energy back to the building. It is used to provide hot water and power for air conditioning. There is an entertainment district, with shops, cinemas and restaurants. The north strip of the development is home to hotels and residential towers. In trusted Dubai style, the Vertical Village has it all – Solar Architecture excellence!

 

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Al Meisan Tower

2. Al Meisan Tower – United Arab Emirates

Also in Dubai, the Almeisan Tower is designed by architect Robert Perry.  This stunning tower will provide its own energy, as well as enough energy for the rest of the Za’abeel Park! 224 heliostatic polished mirrors on the top platform track the sun.  These reflect the beams of light into a central collector at the tower’s tip.  This magnified sunlight is harnessed and used to generate steam to power a turbine! Almeisan, is the Arabic name for one of the brightest starts in the Gemini constellation. It is a fitting name.  The tower’s defining feature is the sunlight that beams out from its tip. A beacon for Dubai and for sustainable energy.

 

Kuwait Airport- Solar- Middle East

Kuwait International Airport

3. Kuwait International Airport

Architects at Foster + Partners  have designed the new Kuwait International Airport. With this, they are aiming for the for the LEED Gold Sustainability Award. This amazing airport features concrete pillars that cool and protect the airport’s interior. They do this by providing thermal mass. The roof is a canopy fitted with PV solar panels. 13 million passengers will flow through this airport. They will be able to see sustainability implemented with style and grace.  Initial designs call for 3 wings of the airport ,each a mile long. They connect with a grand 82 foot dome. There will even be cooling waterfalls by the baggage claim! There is flexibility in the design for large scale expansion. In the future, Kuwait international Airport will be able to accommodate 50 million passengers.

4. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology – Kingdom of Saudi ArabiaSaudi- solar-University KAU

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah features two solar towers. These use the sun and prevailing winds to create a passive pressure difference. This keeps a continuous breeze blowing across the shaded courtyards. The towers feature two “skins”. The outer is completely transparent. This allows the maximum amount of sunlight to pass through to the inner “skin”. The inner skin consists of a highly absorbent tinted glass. This gathers up solar energy and maximizes hot air in the tower.  As hot air rises, it exits the top of the tower. This is then replaced with cooler air from the courtyard.

This technology keeps the campus courtyard comfortable and cool for more than 75% of the year. The roof of the KAUST building has been designed to incorporate solar panels. These work to provide the entire campus with power and hot water on demand. An amazing example of solar energy at work.

ABC Mall- Lebanon-solar

ABC Mall Achrafieh – Lebanon

5. ABC Achrafieh Mall – Lebanon

The ABC Achrafieh Mall in Beirut is paving the way for sustainability. They installed the largest solar PV plant in Lebanon on its rooftop. This covers up to 4000 square meters and can power the ABC department store. This is equal to supplying 500 houses with power.

This is an incredible way for a busy mall to cut down on the need for electricity. At the same time, harnessing the sun’s renewable energy. We consider this a true pioneering approach to sustainable architecture and power saving at a time where an uninterrupted source of electricity and power are a luxury in Lebanon.

 

Architectural projects like these are why Solar One came to being. We believe that sustainable architecture and specifically harnessing Solar Power is no longer a hope in the future but is very much our present. By manufacturing these panels locally right here in Bahrain,  and competing with international prices, we will soon see Bahrain and more Middle East Projects on other lists of Sustainable Architecture.

If you wish to incorporate solar panels in your large or small architectural designs, keep an eye out for our distributors and contact us today.

 

The What and How of Solar Power

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Solar Power. What?

Solar Power is the process of turning sunlight into energy. Plants, animals and our planet do this daily! Why not humans?

The sun is like a giant power plant in the sky, bathing the earth in energy on a constant basis while we’re in orbit. In Bahrain, we enjoy 8 months on average of sunny days. Our natural solar power plant is running at full capacity for most of the year. Plants convert the sun’s rays into energy through photosynthesis. Likewise, we can convert solar power into electricity through the use of solar panels.

In Bahrain, we enjoy 8 months on average of sunny days.

Solar power. How?

You can think of solar panels like the leaves on a plant. They draw in the sun’s energy, and convert this energy into a form we can use – electricity. The more efficient your panel, the more energy they absorb. At Solar One, we take pride in producing the highest efficiency panels available. We use international expertise and standards to make sure of this.

Converting the sun’s energy to electricity is a simple process. A circuit connected to the panels are able to generate a current out of solar energy for use as electricity. Batteries store the power collected by the panels. The more you store, the more you can use on the (rare) cases that there is no sun. The huge supply of Bahraini sunshine means a huge supply of solar energy. You can use this energy year round.

The huge supply of Bahraini sunshine means a huge supply of solar energy. 

The regulator is the brain of your system. This controls how much your batteries can charge. When the batteries reach their optimum storage limit, the regulator stops power coming in. This prevents the batteries from overloading. Finally, the inverter converts your energy  to voltage that is suitable to use in your home. Solar cells generate energy as a direct current (DC). However, most household appliances run on alternate current (AC). Direct current runs from the solar cells to the inverter. This converts the energy to alternate current for use in most homes.

This simple process benefits everyone, from you – the consumer  – to our planet as a whole. Solar Power generates Renewable Energy from a natural resource. We harness the Sun’s power without hurting the earth. No emissions are created from the electricity production of panels. This reduces your carbon footprint and is non-pollutive. Solar panels are durable. There are no moving parts to keep servicing and they are low maintenance. With proper installation and minimal upkeep needed, they can last up to 25 years!  A natural by product of using renewable energy is that it makes you much more energy aware. Using natural processes to generate energy leads to a greener outlook. This green outlook also translates to a more economical perspective.

The transition is easy. You can buy a smaller system and then build on it as you move away from non-renewable energy to a solar powered home.

The power is in your hands.