UAE, Saudi Arabia lead in solar power development in GCC region

The United Arab Emirates  (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are the leading Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in solar power deployment, according to organizers of the Gulf Sol 2013 industry summit, which takes place this week in Dubai.

The GCC is a union of Arabian states that border the Persian Gulf, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

GCC states have a combined 84 gigawatts of solar generation in the works through 2017, Energy Matters reported. Forty-one GW of that will come from Saudi Arabia, which plans to significantly boost its renewable energy output by 2032.

The UAE also expects to increase the amount of renewable energy it uses with 7 percent of its electricity coming from alternative sources by the end of the decade. In March, the nation officially opened one of the world's largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, the 100 megawatt grid-connected Shams 1 solar plant located in the western region of Abu Dhabi.

"Over the years, solar power has been acknowledged as the most promising source of renewable energy and GCC governments have demonstrated their keenness to shift from traditional energy sources to these low-cost and abundant alternatives," said Derek Burston, director of the UK-based Bowmedia, which organized Gulf Sol 2013.

More information on solar energy generation can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

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