Targets for Solar Deployment in the Middle East

A guest post by Rhone Resch (right), president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA):

There is clear evidence that we need to do more and we need to do itsooner to address the pressing problem of global climate change.Yesterday, a delegation of global solar industry groups released areport at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) inCopenhagen that showed how much electricity demand can be met by solarenergy through 2020.

The European Union and the United States – the two most acceleratedtargets – indicated that with the right policies solar meet 12 percentand 15 percent, respectively, of electricity demand by 2020. Withworld-class solar resources, the Middle East will clearly have theopportunity to play a significant role in meeting similar targets.

With our worldwide partners, the European PhotoVoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE),our report detailed the solar potential of the Middle East. They foundthat with a target of 8.6% of electricity generated from PV panels inthe next decade, the region can expect to create 8.2 million jobs andreduce their output of carbon emissions by 400 million metric tons.

U.S. solar companies have not overlooked the potential for growing their businesses in the Middle East. SEIA members have already announced solar projects in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. And Israeli solar companies like BrightSource Energy and Solel are leaders in utility-scale solar power in the United States and around the world.

If we are going to truly address global warming, the Middle Eastmust play a vital role. Utility-scale solar power is one of thequickest ways for countries to start generating clean, renewable energyand the amount of sunshine that the Middle East receives makes it anobvious choice. A price on pollution is an important step, butnegotiators in Copenhagen need to return to their respective countriesand continue the work of establishing national policies that acceleratesolar deployment.

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