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REC powers Northern Thailand’s largest solar power plant and sets up local office

REC, a leading global provider of solar electricity solutions, has announced its first venture in Thailand.

Powered by close to 41,000 REC Peak Energy Series solar panels, the 9.5MW Chiang Rai power plant went into operation in March – 7200 Thai households now benefit from clean, green solar electricity from the plant, which is the largest solar electricity generator in Northern Thailand. Covering 24 hectares of rugged, mountainous land in the District of Mae Chan, the plant is owned and operated by Chiang Rai Solar Company Ltd, a joint venture between Sonnedix, an independent solar power producer, and CK Power, an affiliate of CH Karchang, Thailand’s second-largest construction company.

REC has already supplied solar panels for Sonnedix installations in Europe. Franck Constant, Chairman at Sonnedix said REC solar panels were “among the most reliable options for weather and climate conditions in Thailand and to comply with government regulations.”

Due to the gradient of the terrain, REC’s first installation in Thailand was a challenging one, the firm said. The solar panels had to be ground-mounted on a special concrete structure, and also be optimised to maintain high output in the fluctuating sunlight conditions sometimes experienced in Thailand. The solar power plant is connected by a high voltage overhead line which feeds 15,000 MWh of electricity a year into Thailand’s power grid.

Meantime, committed to capturing opportunities in Thailand’s fast-growing solar market, REC has just opened its own office in Bangkok. Commenting on the new local presence, Jose Luis Martin, Project Development Manager Thailand, REC says, “The best way to serve a market is simply to be there. A local presence in the country testifies that we’re taking a long-term view to our business activities in Southeast Asia. We’re delighted to have provided the solar panels to Sonnedix for the Chiang Rai installation. The new plant is the first milestone of many.”

Currently, Thailand meets around half its primary energy needs with imports, so the country is understandably keen to generate more energy itself, says REC. The aim is to have a quarter of energy needs met by renewable sources by 2021. Thailand benefits from strong year-round sunlight, making solar power a viable way forward. “Regulations are highly favorable at the moment. Power Purchase Agreements guarantee premiums on feed-in tariffs to incentivize new solar installations,” says Jose Luis Martín. “Thailand is an exciting market and a magnet for solar investment. We’re committed to ensuring REC takes an active role.”

Wind power components news: Winergy certification, SKF deal with Nordex

HybridDrive system certified while Nordex secures bearing supply

TÜV Rheinland has certified the HybridDrive system from wind turbines component manufacturer, Winergy, according to the GL2010 Guideline. The system consists of a gearbox and generator.

“The fact that the HybridDrive has been inspected prior to the project planning of the wind turbine by TÜV Rheinland as an independent and accredited Body is advantageous for customers,” said Matthias Deicke, Winergy Project Manager. “The HybridDrive system has been tested and certified according to fundamental manufacturing and design specifications, enabling our client to save time and effort during the type certification process.”

The component certification process was implemented shortly after Winergy’s HybridDrive successfully completed all system-level prototype verifications in 2012.

SKF-Nordex deal

Meantime, wind turbine component supplier SKF has signed a global agreement to supply mainshaft bearings and lubrication systems for wind turbines developed by with German manufacturer Nordex.

“We are very pleased to extend our partnership with Nordex with the signing of the global agreement, further strengthening the strategic partnership between the two companies,” said Henrik Lange, President SKF Industrial Market, Strategic Industries. “SKF continues to support Nordex with our global manufacturing footprint and engineering support, enabling our customer to reach increased supply chain efficiency.”

Lars Rytter, Chief Procurement Officer for Nordex, said with its global footprint, SKF “perfectly fits our requirements for longterm strategic suppliers”.

New Battery Design Could Help Solar and Wind Power the Grid

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have designed a low-cost, long-life battery that could enable solar and wind energy to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.

For solar and wind power to be used in a significant way, we need a battery made of economical materials that are easy to scale and still efficient,” said Yi Cui, a Stanford associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, a SLAC/Stanford joint institute. “We believe our new battery may be the best yet designed to regulate the natural fluctuations of these alternative energies.”

Cui and colleagues report their research results, some of the earliest supported by the DOE’s new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research battery hub, in the May issue of Energy & Environmental Science.

Currently the electrical grid cannot tolerate large and sudden power fluctuations caused by wide swings in sunlight and wind. As solar and wind’s combined contributions to an electrical grid approach 20 percent, energy storage systems must be available to smooth out the peaks and valleys of this “intermittent” power — storing excess energy and discharging when input drops.

Among the most promising batteries for intermittent grid storage today are “flow” batteries, because it’s relatively simple to scale their tanks, pumps and pipes to the sizes needed to handle large capacities of energy. The new flow battery developed by Cui’s group has a simplified, less expensive design that presents a potentially viable solution for large-scale production.

Today’s flow batteries pump two different liquids through an interaction chamber where dissolved molecules undergo chemical reactions that store or give up energy. The chamber contains a membrane that only allows ions not involved in reactions to pass between the liquids while keeping the active ions physically separated. This battery design has two major drawbacks: the high cost of liquids containing rare materials such as vanadium — especially in the huge quantities needed for grid storage — and the membrane, which is also very expensive and requires frequent maintenance.

The new Stanford/SLAC battery design uses only one stream of molecules and does not need a membrane at all. Its molecules mostly consist of the relatively inexpensive elements lithium and sulfur, which interact with a piece of lithium metal coated with a barrier that permits electrons to pass without degrading the metal. When discharging, the molecules, called lithium polysulfides, absorb lithium ions; when charging, they lose them back into the liquid. The entire molecular stream is dissolved in an organic solvent, which doesn’t have the corrosion issues of water-based flow batteries.

“In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles,” Cui said.

To demonstrate their concept, the researchers created a miniature system using simple glassware. Adding a lithium polysulfide solution to the flask immediately produces electricity that lights an LED.

A utility version of the new battery would be scaled up to store many megawatt-hours of energy.

In the future, Cui’s group plans to make a laboratory-scale system to optimize its energy storage process and identify potential engineering issues, and to start discussions with potential hosts for a full-scale field-demonstration unit.

KPMG identifies countries most active in using tax as green policy tool

Six countries lead the KPMG Green Tax Index: US, Japan, UK, France, South Korea and China.

The UK was today named by KPMG International as one of the six most active countries in using tax as a tool to drive sustainable corporate behaviour and achieve green policy goals. Other countries on the list include the US, Japan, France, South Korea and China.

The finding is contained in the first KPMG Green Tax Index, launched today at the 2013 KPMG Asia Pacific Tax Summit in Shanghai.

The KPMG Green Tax Index explores how governments are using their tax systems to respond to global challenges including energy security, waste and recycling, water and resource scarcity, pollution and climate change.

It analyses green tax incentives and penalties in 21 major economies, focusing on key policy areas such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, carbon emissions, green innovation and green buildings.

The KPMG Green Tax Index is intended to raise corporate awareness of the rapidly evolving and complex global landscape of green tax incentives and penalties, and to encourage tax directors and sustainability chiefs to work together to factor green tax considerations into investment decisions.

“Green taxation is a rapidly evolving and increasingly complex area,” says Barbara Bell, Head of KPMG’s Environmental Tax team in the UK. “Businesses face a multitude of challenges worldwide, and those which operate on a multinational basis face a sometimes bewildering array of different taxes and incentives. And, yes, this is an area of tax management which requires an investment of knowledge and effort, not to mention resources. If addressed with knowledge and pro-activity, however, the challenges can become opportunities.”

“Governments are increasingly using green taxes as a tool to change corporate behaviour and to assist with environmental policy objectives. The UK’s landfill tax, for example, was introduced in 1996 and has had a marked and widely acknowledged impact in significantly reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.”

“Our analysis shows that at least 30 new green tax incentives, penalties or significant regulation changes have been introduced in the countries we studied since January 2011. A pro-active approach to green tax can help companies reduce the cost of strategic investments, drive innovation, improve efficiency and secure competitive advantage.”

The KPMG Green Tax Index – Overall Ranking

US

1

Netherlands

8

Finland

 

15=

Japan

2

Belgium

9

Germany
UK

3

India

10

Australia

17

France

4

Spain

 

11=

Brazil

18

South Korea

5

Canada Argentina

19

China

6

South Africa

13

Mexico

20

Ireland

7

Singapore

14

Russia

21

The ranking shows:

The UK ranks 3rd and has a green tax approach balanced between penalties and incentives. The UK scores most highly in the area of carbon and climate change.

The US tops the ranking primarily due to its extensive program of federal tax incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy and green buildings.

When green tax penalties alone are considered, the US drops to 14th, indicating that US green tax policy is weighted heavily in favor of incentives.

Japan is ranked 2nd overall but, in contrast to the US, scores higher on green tax penalties than it does on incentives. Japan also leads the ranking for tax measures to promote the use and manufacture of green vehicles.

France occupies 4th place in the overall ranking and is also unusual in that its green tax policy is more heavily weighted towards penalties than incentives.

South Korea ranks 5th overall and, in common with the US, has a green tax system weighted towards incentives rather than penalties. South Korea leads the ranking for green innovation which suggests that South Korea is especially active in using its tax code to encourage green research and development.

China ranks 6th with a green tax policy balanced between incentives and penalties and focused on resource efficiency (energy, water and materials) and green buildings.

The US uses green tax penalties less than other Western developed nations, apart from Canada. The only countries in the Index that impose fewer green tax penalties than the US or Canada are emerging economies such as Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia. China and South Africa are both more active than the US or Canada in imposing federal green tax penalties.

The KPMG Green Tax Index attributes scores to green tax incentives and penaltiesaccording to arguable value and potential to influence corporate behavior. Scores should be taken as indicative, not absolute, in providing a view of governments with the most active and developed green tax systems in place.

TÜV Rheinland Certifies HybridDrive from Winergy

Wind turbine drive train consisting of gearbox and the generator / Certification according to the GL2010 Guideline / Facilitation of the type certification process

Cologne/Voerde, 29 April, 2013. TÜV Rheinland has certified the HybridDrive system from wind turbines component manufacturer, Winergy, according to the GL2010 Guideline The system consists of a gearbox and generator. “We are very glad that the certification could be accomplished so quickly”, said Matthias Deicke, Winergy Project Manager. “The fact that the HybridDrive has been inspected prior to the project planning of the wind turbine by TÜV Rheinland as an independent and accredited Body is advantageous for customers. The HybridDrive system has been tested and certified according to fundamental manufacturing and design specifications, enabling our client to save time and effort during the type certification process.” TÜV Rheinland’s Global Business Development Manager for Wind Power, Frank Witte, adds: “This certification contract with a leading component manufacturer reaffirms our expertise and capability within the wind power industry.” The component certification process was expeditiously implemented shortly after Winergy’s HybridDrive successfully completed all system-level prototype verifications in 2012.

Headquartered in Voerde, Winergy is the leading manufacturer of wind turbine components with over 70,000 gearboxes installed worldwide. With 30 years of experience, Winergy provides wind power system manufacturers and wind farm operators with gearboxes, couplings and related services. The company has production and service offices located in Europe, China, India and the USA.

TÜV Rheinland offers manufacturers, operators, investors and insurance companies a comprehensive range of services for wind energy. The company supports customers worldwide through expert reports and measurements, performs risk and damage analyses as well as certifications of wind turbines and wind energy projects. TÜV Rheinland is accredited for type and component certification of both onshore and offshore wind turbines according to various local and international standards.

The company not only offers sophisticated services in site assessment and soil examinations, but also provides manufacturing surveillance, structural design verification, quality control and construction supervision. In addition, TÜV Rheinland performs acceptance tests and periodic inspections as well as conformity assessments in accordance with the building authorities for wind turbines. The company further supports clients with supervision services for the transportation and installation of offshore wind turbines: the so-called “Marine Warranty Survey Services”. TÜV Rheinland also successfully implements the principle of neutral inspection in its quality assurance of global supply chains.

Masdar Launches Africa’s Largest Solar PV Plant In Mauritania

With strong solar and wind energy resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant portion of its electricity capacity from clean, sustainable and reliable sources of energy

Nouakchott: April 18, 2013 – During today’s inauguration of The Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant, a utility-scale, 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Ruler Representative, reaffirmed the UAE’s long-standing support for economic and social growth projects in developing countries. The country’s philanthropic commitment is aligned with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

“This inauguration underscores the important role renewable energy can play to drive comprehensive sustainable development in Africa,” said H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “This project would not have been possible without the strong support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“The UAE’s policy of aiding developing countries was first established by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may his soul rest in peace),” added HH Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “Today, we continue to carry out his vision and legacy, and this solar power plant is a testament to our strong bi-lateral relationship with Mauritania and our commitment to helping create a more sustainable future.”

This statement was made as Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, delivered the Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in the capital city of Nouakchott. The largest solar PV plant in Africa, the AED 117.5 million (US$31.99 million) facility accounts for 10 percent of Mauritania’s energy capacity and will displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Mauritania’s electricity grid, which is powered mostly by expensive diesel generators, currently has an installed capacity of only144 megawatts, resulting in severe energy shortages. With energy demand increasing by 12 percent annually, the addition of solar power will help meet future electricity shortfalls and supply the energy demand of approximately 10,000 homes. The plant, which consists of 29,826 micromorph thin-film panels, was built using innovative and sustainable construction practices. In particular, project engineers designed the support structure for the PV modules to be piled into the ground instead of using a concrete foundation, which reduced the project’s carbon footprint and cost.

“Energy access is a pathway to economic and social opportunity,” said Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz during the inauguration of the solar plant. “Electrification, through sustainable sources of energy, is critical in ensuring our people have access to basic services and is a step toward improving our infrastructure and long-term economic development. We are pleased to have partnered with Masdar to successfully deliver Africa’s largest solar PV plant and an important facility to meet Mauritania’s growing energy needs.

“This new solar power plant not only provides much needed grid capacity for our people, it also proves that renewable energy can play a major role in the development of our country. The United Arab Emirates, a nation dedicated to improving global welfare, have committed resources and expertise to improving energy access through renewable energy technologies. This is a testament to the UAE leadership’s vision of ensuring sustainable development – economically, socially and environmentally,” added President Abdel Aziz.

The United Arab Emirates has a long history of reinvesting its hydrocarbon wealth into helping developing countries promote economic development and alleviate poverty. From the construction of water and road infrastructure to building hospitals and schools, the UAE is enabling economic growth across developing nations.

Today, the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy is part of the UAE’s commitment to the developing world. With the price of renewable energy technologies falling, solar and wind power are becoming economically viable solutions to improving energy security and access. Domestically generated renewable energy is clean, sustainable and helps developing nations insulate themselves from volatile fuel prices.

“For more than 40 years, the UAE has remained steadfast in its commitment to helping developing countries achieve their economic potential,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Today, as the UAE and Masdar help countries realize their ambitions of developing critical energy infrastructure, we are finding important new ways to assist the global community in achieving sustainable development.

“Through this project, and others like it, Masdar is committed to improving energy access and demonstrating that renewable energy can serve as a foundation for economic development and social opportunity,” added Dr. Al Jaber.

With strong solar and wind energy resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant portion of its electricity capacity from clean, sustainable and reliable sources of energy. Its wind energy potential alone is almost four times its annual energy demand.

“Renewable energy has the potential to be a major contributor to the energy mix in developing countries where access to conventional energy is limited,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “With energy demand expected to nearly double by 2030, renewable energy will play an increasingly important role, especially in countries where demand is rapidly outstripping supply.”

Masdar is developing numerous other renewable energy projects to improve, energy access in the developing world. Notable projects include:

The Seychelles project is a 6-megawatt wind farm

A project in Afghanistan will supply 600 residences with off-grid solar PV systems

A 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power plant on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga

ReneSola Receives ‘Desert-Proof’ Accreditation for Solar Panels

Leading certification body TUV Nord certifies PV modules ideal for Middle East climate.

DUBAI, UAE, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — ReneSola (NYSE: SOL), a leading global manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) modules and wafers, has announced that following its participation at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabiearlier this year, a range of its PV modules have been accredited by TUV Nord, a leading German industry-certification body.

Dr. Bill Hou, ReneSola’s product director, commented, “We believe our modules are well suited for the climate of the Middle East. Their minimal degradation results in long life cycles and reliable power output. The TUV Nord certification, which reaffirms that the modules can withstand dusty and desert-like conditions, is a milestone for us. It shows our modules are capable of suiting several special climates, particularly those of emerging economies with communities spread over significant land masses, such as North Africa and the Middle East. Along with our presence in Saudi Arabia, the certification will help us increase our market share and bring innovative PV solutions throughout the region.”

Make India a global solar energy hub: PM

India’s prime minister urged global companies on Wednesday to make the sun-baked South Asian nation a solar energy hub as the country seeks to cut its chronic power shortages.

India, which has an average of 300 sunny days a year, sees solar power as a potentially vital energy source that could be key to boosting power supplies and reducing greenhouse gas emission in the world’s third-worst carbon polluter.

“India is potentially a large market for production of such (solar) equipment and it is also a potentially competitive, attractive production base for supplying other countries,” Premier Manmohan Singh told a global energy conference.

“We therefore strongly encourage global manufacturers to set up production facilities in this area,” Singh said at the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in New Delhi attended by representatives of over 20 nations. India is working urgently to develop alternative power sources and wean itself away from polluting coal-fired generation to power an economy that is expected to grow by at least six percent this financial year.

It has just 551 megawatts of solar capacity installed currently, according to government figures, and some 70 percent of the equipment comes from abroad.

India’s National Solar Mission launched in 2010 aims to generate 20 gigawatts of solar power by 2022 — equivalent to one-eighth of the nation’s current installed power base.

Chinese Suntech likely to be bailed out

Cash-strapped Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd is likely to be bailed out by the state, despite a temporary reprieve from some debt holders, as it struggles to cover a $541 million convertible bond due within days.

Despite billions of dollars in subsidies, Suntech and other indebted solar industry manufacturers like LDK Solar have been haemorrhaging cash, hit by trade disputes and a global panel glut that has caused prices to collapse and hammered their once high-flying stock prices over the past two years.

Suntech, one of the world’s largest solar panel manufacturers by capacity, said on Monday it had reached an agreement with investors holding more than 60 percent of the bond due this Friday to defer their debt payment by two months.

That may have won it some breathing space to hammer out a debt restructuring plan, but it has yet to persuade the remaining 40 percent of bondholders to sign up. It does not have enough cash to even meet their $200 million portion of the debt.

The decline of Suntech, a former green tech poster child with a New York Stock Exchange listing and a market value of $16 billion at its peak, presents China with a dilemma.

While some industry officials have argued it makes sense to let some solar panel makers go bankrupt in light of the worsening oversupply of panels, analysts say that allowing Suntech to fail could trigger a crisis of confidence in a sector whose development Beijing has made a priority.

“Two months from now, bond holders will likely have to compromise and take some sort of haircut, and then Suntech will get help from local government,” said CLSA analyst Charles Yonts, echoing the view of other analysts.

The problem for Suntech is that, with no sign of a recovery from the industry-wide slump, it will not be able to repay the debt in two months time even if all of its bond holders agree to defer the payment now.

The government of the city of Wuxi, the solar technology hub where Suntech is based, is in talks with the company and may prefer a bailout rather than risk wider repercussions for the

sector and local banks from allowing it to fail, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

“Wuxi government may rush to its rescue,” one source said by phone from the city, in eastern China. However, the sources said the municipal government would refrain from an aggressive bailout, given the solar sector’s dismal prospects, and bond holders would still need to “take a haircut” — undertaking part of the losses.

Calls to the offices of the Wuxi government went unanswered. China’s solar panel manufacturing industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and is the largest in the world by capacity, after local governments jostled to attract investment in the sector with preferential policies in recent years.

State banks had provided billions dollars of easy loans to the sector amid Beijing’s push to develop clean energy.

At the end of March 2012, Suntech had total debt of $2.2 billion — including loans from China Development Bank, and a $50 million convertible loan from the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank.

It had a net debt-to-equity ratio of around 200 percent, and the ratio must have increased sharply over the past year as the solar industry deteriorated further, analysts say. The company has not released quarterly results since the second quarter of 2012, but reported losses for the four quarters before that.

Suntech in October hired investment bank UBS to evaluate alternatives for the convertible notes. UBS was not immediately available for comment.

Suntech and UBS have been holding discussions with bond holders on restructuring, but they have kept their cards close to their chest.

“Basically they all are focused on that and it is a very sensitive issue for them,” a Suntech spokesman said. He declined further comment.

Under a likely scenario, Suntech would turn part of the bonds into long-term debt guaranteed by a government entity, and convert the remaining debt into Suntech shares, analysts said.

“We believe Suntech is too large a company to fail and eventually will reach a financing deal with the local government,” said Pranab Sarmah of Daiwa Capital Markets.

“My guess is there is a high probability of renegotiating terms with bondholders with some minimal payment. Cash for such payment will come from government entities against equity stakes in Suntech.”

Bond holders would take a big hit from any bond-to-equity conversion. Shares of Suntech have plummeted nearly 99 percent from their 2008 peak of $90. Based on its Monday closing price of $1.15, the company has a market value of only $208 million.

Masdar Launches Africa’s Largest Solar PV Plant In Mauritania

With strong solar and wind energy resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant portion of its electricity capacity from clean, sustainable and reliable sources of energy.

Nouakchott: April 18, 2013 – During today’s inauguration of The Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant, a utility-scale, 15-megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) facility in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Ruler Representative, reaffirmed the UAE’s long-standing support for economic and social growth projects in developing countries. The country’s philanthropic commitment is aligned with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.

“This inauguration underscores the important role renewable energy can play to drive comprehensive sustainable development in Africa,” said H.H. Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “This project would not have been possible without the strong support of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“The UAE’s policy of aiding developing countries was first established by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may his soul rest in peace),” added HH Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “Today, we continue to carry out his vision and legacy, and this solar power plant is a testament to our strong bi-lateral relationship with Mauritania and our commitment to helping create a more sustainable future.”

This statement was made as Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, delivered the Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in the capital city of Nouakchott. The largest solar PV plant in Africa, the AED 117.5 million (US$31.99 million) facility accounts for 10 percent of Mauritania’s energy capacity and will displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Mauritania’s electricity grid, which is powered mostly by expensive diesel generators, currently has an installed capacity of only144 megawatts, resulting in severe energy shortages. With energy demand increasing by 12 percent annually, the addition of solar power will help meet future electricity shortfalls and supply the energy demand of approximately 10,000 homes. The plant, which consists of 29,826 micromorph thin-film panels, was built using innovative and sustainable construction practices. In particular, project engineers designed the support structure for the PV modules to be piled into the ground instead of using a concrete foundation, which reduced the project’s carbon footprint and cost.

“Energy access is a pathway to economic and social opportunity,” said Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz during the inauguration of the solar plant. “Electrification, through sustainable sources of energy, is critical in ensuring our people have access to basic services and is a step toward improving our infrastructure and long-term economic development. We are pleased to have partnered with Masdar to successfully deliver Africa’s largest solar PV plant and an important facility to meet Mauritania’s growing energy needs.

“This new solar power plant not only provides much needed grid capacity for our people, it also proves that renewable energy can play a major role in the development of our country. The United Arab Emirates, a nation dedicated to improving global welfare, have committed resources and expertise to improving energy access through renewable energy technologies. This is a testament to the UAE leadership’s vision of ensuring sustainable development – economically, socially and environmentally,” added President Abdel Aziz.

The United Arab Emirates has a long history of reinvesting its hydrocarbon wealth into helping developing countries promote economic development and alleviate poverty. From the construction of water and road infrastructure to building hospitals and schools, the UAE is enabling economic growth across developing nations.

Today, the acceleration and adoption of renewable energy is part of the UAE’s commitment to the developing world. With the price of renewable energy technologies falling, solar and wind power are becoming economically viable solutions to improving energy security and access. Domestically generated renewable energy is clean, sustainable and helps developing nations insulate themselves from volatile fuel prices.

“For more than 40 years, the UAE has remained steadfast in its commitment to helping developing countries achieve their economic potential,” said Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Today, as the UAE and Masdar help countries realize their ambitions of developing critical energy infrastructure, we are finding important new ways to assist the global community in achieving sustainable development.

“Through this project, and others like it, Masdar is committed to improving energy access and demonstrating that renewable energy can serve as a foundation for economic development and social opportunity,” added Dr. Al Jaber.

With strong solar and wind energy resources, Mauritania has the potential to derive a significant portion of its electricity capacity from clean, sustainable and reliable sources of energy. Its wind energy potential alone is almost four times its annual energy demand.

“Renewable energy has the potential to be a major contributor to the energy mix in developing countries where access to conventional energy is limited,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “With energy demand expected to nearly double by 2030, renewable energy will play an increasingly important role, especially in countries where demand is rapidly outstripping supply.”

Masdar is developing numerous other renewable energy projects to improve, energy access in the developing world. Notable projects include:

The Seychelles project is a 6-megawatt wind farm

A project in Afghanistan will supply 600 residences with off-grid solar PV systems

A 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power plant on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga

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