MESIA unveils winners of the 2014 Solar Awards
Twelve champions of regional industry honoured at ceremony in Dubai.
The Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) unveiled the winners of its annual solar awards at a ceremony at the Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai on Monday evening.
In total, there were twelve trophies up for grabs with the winners chosen by a panel of independent judges from around the world, chaired by Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Midfa, MESIA chairman.
The event took place in conjunction with the 3rd Annual MENA Clean Energy Forum hosted by the Clean Energy Business Council. Over 200 dignitaries, government officials and senior business executives from across the Middle East were in attendance.
“This ceremony is a reflection of the growing scale and significance of the solar industry in the Middle East,” said Vahid Fotuhi, President of MESIA.
“The winners range from five different countries, a record-high for MESIA. They also include both very large and quite small companies. And we have a record number of female winners this year. The future for this region is looking very bright,” he added.
The Woman of the Year accolade went to Michelle T. Davies, Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group at Eversheds. Mrs. Davies won the award on the back of her active involvement in supporting governments in the UAE, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on forming solar policy and regulation.
Robin Mills, the author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis and Capturing Carbon, collected the Media Personality of the Year award. He is also an outspoken and well-respected columnist at The National newspaper, with over 9,000 followers on Twitter.
It was a double celebration for Eversheds after it picked up the Legal Advisor of the Year award for being an early and active supporter of the Middle East solar industry. They are currently advising on several solar mandates across the region including eight out of the 10 solar projects in Jordan Round I. Eversheds has also advised on over 15 solar equity investments in the Middle East.
One of the most hotly contested awards was Project of the Year which went to Enerwhere. The young Dubai-based company has been busily developing a number of solar hybrid power solutions to commercial and industrial clients in the Middle East and Africa on a rental and PPA basis.
UAE-based Access collected the Regional Company of the Year award. Access has become the largest fully privately-owned developer dedicated to sustainable energy projects in Africa and has also won high profile solar mandates across the Middle East.
Egypt was a big winner with two awards on the night. Professor Hafez El-Salmawy, managing director of the country’s Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (ERA) was named Policymaker of the Year. He is widely recognized as the "Godfather of Egypt's solar FIT regime."
Egypt was also proudly represented by Lamyaa Abdel Hady, director of the solar FIT Program at the Ministry of Electricity. She won Solar Initiative of the Year. Her role has been critical in the Ministry's recent announcement of the solar/wind FIT program which, at 2,300MW, is the largest of its kind in the MENA region.
Jordan’s NEPCO scooped the Utility Company of Year for its support and guidance of the country’s ambitious renewable energy target of 7% of the primary energy mix by 2015 and 10% by 2020.
The Commercial Advisor of the Year went to IFC (International Finance Corporation). In 2014, the IFC signed financing packages worth $207.5mn to collectively fund the construction of seven of the twelve first round solar PV power parks totalling 102 MWdc/91MWac across Jordan.
Technology of the Year award went to NOMADD, the Saudi-based company that developed a system to clean solar panels without using precious water resources.
Finally, the Solar Conference of The Year recognised MENASOL for its heavily attended 2014 event in Dubai which featured over 50 presentations from top solar industry professionals.
This year, MESIA chose to posthumously recognise Jit Chakravarty of Alsa Solar Systems with a special Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to the Solar Industry. Jit was a passionate solar engineer and solar pioneer in UAE previously recognised with the “Innovation of the year” award in MEE for solar pumping.