Mulk Holding, a UAE-based oil and construction conglomerate, is ready to break ground next month on a 300m dirham ($81.5m) solar panel factory in Sharjah, as interest in solar power continues to gain momentum in the sun-drenched Middle East.
Mulk says the plant will have a production capacity of 200 megawatts (MW) and be brought to completion next year in Sharjah, the third largest emirate in the UAE. The factory will generate annual revenues in excess of 1bn dirhams, and act in conjunction with another solar facility Mulk is building in India.
Mulk is currently developing a range of aluminium-based solar panels in partnership with US-based concentrating solar power (CSP) firm Suntrof, which it will commercialise under the brand name Suntrof Mulk Energy. The aluminium panels will be lighter than traditional glass-based solar modules, making them cheaper to transport and easier to install.
The UAE is “the largest market for solar energy right now”, says Shaji Ul Mulk, chairman of the company. Mulk says other emirates such as Dubai are also showing a keen interest in expanding their solar portfolios.
Mulk’s solar division is involved in developing solar arrays within Masdar, the world’s first zero-carbon city being built on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. Its construction arm is also contracted to build Masdar’s facades.