By 2040, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are expected to have installed the second-largest number of electrolyzers worldwide, according to information presented today at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
The upbeat prognosis was made by Denisa Fainis, secretary general of the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), as she gave guests of the Solar & Clean Energy Forum—one of six specialized vertical events—a copy of the Association’s Solar Outlook Report 2023.
Given its geographic location halfway between Asia and Europe, according to Fainis, MENA would become a major supply chain hub if it were to realize its production potential, which would see it contribute 20% of the world’s production of green hydrogen.
However, the MESIA Outlook Report urges solar PV developers and company owners to seek out ways to generate competitive cooling rates by boosting energy efficiency and putting in place building management systems.
Even though the Middle East enjoys year-round heat, cooling is one of its top energy consumers and sources of CO2 emissions, and demand for it is predicted to triple by 2050, according to Fainis.
The 10th report from the Association, which is released each year at the World Future Energy Summit, notes that while infrastructure and testing in hot climates remain obstacles to the Middle East’s adoption of electric vehicles, there are indications that the industry could significantly boost Saudi Arabia’s economy. The ambitious EV production plans of Saudi Arabia are highlighted by MESIA, which claims that the country’s projected 350,000-vehicle capacity will “spark the establishment of an industry with the goal of creating jobs and diversifying the economy.”
The paper also discusses the digitalization of O&M, robot cleaning, drone asset management, and country-specific highlights and expert perspectives on the potential and difficulties faced by each nation. It also briefly examines the nations that experience electricity shortages and identifies the problems that may present opportunities for companies with a high tolerance for risk.
According to Fainia, the solar energy industry is entering a new period of expansion that is unrestricted by the previous decade’s doubts about solar viability. According to the MESIA Secretary General, “Equally important is the fact that solar energy is competitive in terms of cost and electricity price against other energy products and solutions, which has been the underlying factor for its resilience and unabated growth through the sustained low oil and gas prices and recent volatile energy market conditions.” The ability to scale solar energy to meet any requirement, from home applications to utilities-at-scale developments, has always made it stand out among other technologies. Due to its high degree of adaptability, solar energy is being used to meet related energy needs, including those for electric vehicles and the manufacturing of green hydrogen. If properly implemented, electric transportation and the expansion of battery storage technologies provide particularly synergistic solar energy solutions that could advance us closer to our goal of a net-zero future.
According to Fania, MENA’s experience with solar installation and implementation has sparked a new push for higher energy yields and operational efficiencies through technological progress. “The emerging yet the significant field of solar energy production has introduced new uses of robotics, artificial intelligence, drones, and imaging technologies, all targeted at enhancing solar energy efficiency. The efficiency of solar photovoltaic technology keeps improving, both at the cellular and module levels. Though they haven’t yet gained widespread adoption, new technologies like heterojunction technology and perovskites are being keenly watched by the industry to determine the future course these potentially more efficient cells can take.
The MESIA research, according to RX Middle East, the organization behind the World Future Energy Summit, is a promising indication of the region’s abundant solar potential.
The MENA area is preparing for a surge in both public and private investment in its solar infrastructure as the technology becomes more prevalent in the region’s energy mix. The plans of Saudi Arabia to make Neom, a new city development, the world’s first metropolis totally powered by renewable sources, particularly solar, are a testament to the potential’s size, according to Leen Alsebai, head of the World Future Energy Summit and general manager of RX Middle East. The Solar & Clean Energy Forum is a weather vane for the direction the sector is taking, and it indicates an extremely promising future.