The countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are known for their abundance of fossil fuels, yet they also have another energy resource at their fingertips – solar power. Some countries such as Saudi Arabia, which have great solar resources, are transitioning to utility scale solar energy production. This allows them to export more of their fossil fuel instead of using it to produce power domestically. However, the decision to switch to solar power isn’t just to preserve oil resources for export.
The countries in the MENA region are also experiencing increased demand for electricity due to rising populations and economic growth, and many are turning to their abundant solar resources to meet that demand.
In addition, many of these regions face water scarcity issues, driving widespread adoption of energy-intensive desalination operations – again, creating an ideal opportunity to deploy utility scale solar operations, lowering the opportunity costs of using oil-powered generation.
[Photo by Philippe Roos | Flickr]