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Solar Interview with Muhammed Kazi on the potential of the Middle East solar market

Muhammed Kazi

Intersolar has been actively involved in the Middle East region since 2013. In 2016 Intersolar is teaming up with dmg Events to organize the first Intersolar Middle East, the key event in the region dedicated to the solar industry, taking place in Dubai from September 19-21, 2016.

In this solar interview, Muhammed Kazi, Event Director, dmg events, speaks about the potential of the Middle East solar market.


Which potential do you identify in the Middle East solar market? 

Kazi: Electricity demand in the Middle East has been growing between 6% and 8% CAGR, and yet some GCC utilites have faced an increase in peak load demand in excess of 12% when comparing the summer period of 2014 and the same period in 2015. In 2016, total electrical energy demand in the Middle East region is expected to exceed 900TWh.

Solar project investments in MENA grew from about $160 million in 2010 to about $3.5 billion in 2015, and the size of investment is expected to increase even more.


Which countries will become the most exciting markets, and what do you expect to be the drivers for solar and storage deployment?

Morocco, Algeria, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the biggest solar markets in the MENA region and will continue to attract investors. Key solar trends in 2016 includes 

1.    Very low LCOW offer

2.    Low oil and gas prices

3.    Energy Independency

4.    Commercial & Industrial solar

5.    Small-scale distributed generation

6.    Strengthening electric networks 


In 2014, a record number of solar projects were awarded in the Middle East. What are the main factors fuelling this sharp rise?

2015 was a ground breaking year for solar in the Middle East. We could call it the year of tipping point for solar on the Arabian Peninsula. The Middle East region sent several important and constructive signals to Paris.

Just before COP21 started, regional solar leader Dubai not only upped its overall renewables target from 15% to 25% by 2030, it increased the target for the Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park from 3 gigawatts (GW) to 5 GW and announced that solar will be mandatory on all rooftops by that time.


Intersolar Middle East is taking place for the first time in 2016. What positive effects do you expect for the region, the exhibitors and the industry in general?

Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition series for the solar industry and the timing to launch Intersolar Middle East couldn’t have been better as solar energy in the UAE is planned to contribute 25% of Dubai’s power needs by 2030. We are already receiving overwhelming response from the industry about Intersolar Middle East and have already key brands on board including Alumil, Coenergy, Kaco etc.


What are the highlights of the exhibition for visitors and exhibitors?

We have action packed educational sessions for all our visitors which includes second edition of Global Solar Leaders Summit, inaugural Intersolar Conference, series of workshops and trainings.

We also have an exciting student contest “Future Energy Leaders Challenge” lined by this year which will give university students an opportunity to show their talent and win a chance to advance their career development with leading industry solar manufacturers.