Despite benefitting from year-round sunshine, solar panels are a rare sight in Qatar.
But things may be about to change. As part of its commitment to produce 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2018 (not to mention pledging a carbon-neutral World Cup in 2022), Qatar is building a huge polysilicon plant in Ras Laffan.
Polysilicon is used to make many of the elements used in solar technology, including the panels themselves.
Back in May, Clean Technica reported finance had been secured to build the plant, at a cost of $1.1 billion.
In the same month, Bloomberg reported that both Qatar Electricity and Water Co. and Qatar Solar Technologies companies had committed to research the use of solar power in Qatar.
The first phase of construction is due to be finished by the end of next year, and it’s hoped it will produce about 8000 metric tons of polysilicon annually, reports the Peninsula.
The newspaper quotes Dr. Khalid Al Hajri, chairman and CEO of Qatar Solar Technologies, as saying that they are conducting research on how they can best use solar energy to run air-conditioning units and desalinate water.
He predicts an increase in demand for solar power in the region in the next decade, and believes that the new plant will be of huge benefit to Qatar’s economy, helping boost the research and construction sectors in particular.
Thoughts? A step in the right direction, or too little, too late?
Note: This story has been edited to correct a statement that finance for the plant was a joint Qatar Electricity and Water Co and Qatar Solar Technologies deal – Qatar Solar Technologies alone secured the finance for the plant.
Credit: Picture by Photo Mojo Mike