UPDATE | Dec. 3, 12:20pm
Qatar’s first lady Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has attended the opening of a major solar power testing facility at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP).
A joint project run by QSTP, GreenGulf and Chevron Qatar, the 35,000 square metre centre will identify solar technologies best suited to the region’s climate.
Qatar is now aiming to meet 16 percent of its electricity needs through solar energy by 2018, a 6 percent increase on its previous target, according to a senior Qatari official.
“It makes sense for us. All these measures have been applied now because solar prices are becoming reasonable and competitive. With the amount of solar hours we have it is economically feasible.”
Qatar had previously committed to producing 10 percent of its electricity from solar power by 2018, as well as promising a carbon-neutral World Cup in 2022.
As part of this commitment, it’s building a huge polysilicon plant in Ras Laffan, which should be completed by the end of next year.
Polysilicon is used to make many of the elements used in solar technology, incuding the panels themselves.
Qatar’s government has so far refused to set a limit on its greenhouse gas emissions at the COP 18 climate talks.
In a report submitted to the UN last year and quoted by Reuters, Qatar explained its position:
“To Qatar, climate change represents a double jeopardy,” it said. “On the one hand, global warming threatens its fragile desert ecosystems. On the other, effective action to solve the problem would undermine demand for fossil fuels.”