2012 could be breakthrough year for solar
Power from the sun is becoming more cost competitive
With countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia already leading the solar powered charge in the Middle East, Jose Alberich, vice president of AT Kearney Middle East, has said that he sees a potential upswing in solar power usage, following a sharp drop off in price for photovoltaic panels.
“We see that this year and the coming year could be the breakthrough. The reason being that (earlier), it was not cost competitive with conventional power generation, but playing around with the numbers now, we see that it is starting to become competitive,” he said on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit on Wednesday.
A study conducted by AT Kearney found that the GCC countries were amongst the most attractive for large-scale deployment of new solar photovoltaic generation capacities. The study added that by 2020, PV could become more competitive than traditional gas or oil fuelled peak power demand.
The year 2011 saw PV system prices continue to decline, Alberich said, following the expected cost curve, which was accelerated by an oversupplied market situation. Despite this, he added, significant PV capacity development is yet to be realized in any of the GCC countries as yet.
In comparison, Europe has commissioned utility scale solar PV projects, since at least three years ago.
However, with the announcement that Masdar and Spain’s Sener plans to invest up to $5bn to construct concentrated solar power plants (CSP) in Spain, the United States and the Middle East, there are signs that the regional market is waking up to the potential of solar power in the region.