With ample hydrocarbon resources in the form of crude oil and natural gas, one would think that Qatar is the last country in the world which would need to look for alternative sources of energy.
However, with another resource in ample supply – sunlight – Qatar is looking to the future and the environment as it bids to harness solar energy to generate electricity.
Saleh Hamad Al-Marri, head of the renewable energies technologies section, conservation and energy efficiency department, at Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa), says, “Currently, for energy, we are using LNG. We are also using solar power. Electricity is being produced through the thermal process, which uses LNG for which we are paying local prices, which differ from global prices. Any 1 kilowatt (kW) from solar energy will result in saving natural gas which can be sold outside Qatar with a price increase of USD 5 to USD 8.”
In short, use of solar power in this instance would leave more gas for the country to export at a hefty profit and adding to the country’s already bulging coffers.
Al-Marri is optimistic about the future of solar energy, no doubt because of the dollops of sunlight the country is blessed with almost throughout the year.