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Solar industry set for global recovery

Dubai, December 6, 2009

After the setback caused by the global economic crisis, the solar energy business will rally again sharply as early as next year thanks to the growing interest in the Middle East for solar power, according to a recent report.

Bank Sarasin in its report published under the title “Solar industry 2009: the first green shoots of recovery,” said the Middle East region with its vast amount of sunshine is the ideal place for solar energy.

There has been a growing interest in the Middle Eastern countries for solar power as both governments and companies start thinking beyond petroleum, the report added.

Some of the recent initiatives in the region such as Abu Dhabi being named as the headquarters of Irena as well as the Masdar initiative point towards the Middle East region’s inclination towards solar power, it said.

According to the report, the global outlook for the photovoltaics (generation of electricity from solar energy) PV   market would touch 46 per cent in 2010.

For the Middle East, this would hopefully lead to attractive and soon cost competitive PV-installations for the high electricity demand of air conditioners or desalination plants.

The latest report from Bank Sarasin predicts an annual growth rate of more than 50 per cent over the coming five years for this attractive region.

'The Masdar project is somewhat the spearhead of this new development. It will be the first clean-technology cluster located in a carbon-neutral, zero-waste city powered entirely by renewables, mainly solar power. This new city seeks to become a global centre for innovation, research and product development in the fields of renewable energy and sustainable technologies, the report stated.

'In solar cells, which are mostly made from silicon, shining a beam of light on a material releases a positive and negative charge (photoelectric effect), producing an electrical current that can be used to charge a battery or can be fed into the public grid.'

A solar thermal system, or solar heating plant, uses the sun’s energy in a relatively simple but highly efficient way. Black coated absorbers in the solar collectors are heated up by the sun’s rays. This heat is collected in a storage medium and then fed into the household boiler and heating system.

The concentrating solar power (CSP) plants utilise the heat converted from the sun’s radiation to generate electricity. Mirrors are used to concentrate the sun’s rays, and the resulting thermal energy is transferred to a steam cycle at temperatures well above 100 deg C. As with conventional power stations, the steam is used to power a turbine for generating electricity.

The introduction of CSP technology in the Middle East should receive a boost from the Desertec project, based on an initiative by German climate researchers and the Club of Rome, the Bank Sarasin said in the report.

According to the report, a desert area of 360 sq km would be enough to cover the entire world's electricity needs.

This corresponds to half a percent of all desert areas on the planet. The plan is for CSP plants located in the Sahara to supply up to 15 per cent electricity for the Middle East, the Mediterranean countries and Europe by 2050. This will require investments of euros 400 billion ($594 billion), the Bank Sarasin stated in th report.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: recovery | Bank Sarasin | solar industry |

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