When it comes to energy, the Middle East and Persian Gulf are best known for their oil and gas. But across the region, governments, power companies and investors are beginning to exploit another abundant resource: the sun.
In places like Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, solar power plants are providing an affordable and reliable source of electricity, badly needed by nations that produce oil and those that must import it. Wind farms are appearing, too.
The move toward renewable energy is in its earliest stages. Clean sources account for less than 5 percent of the region’s power capacity and face obstacles, including widespread subsidies, that make conventional sources of electricity artificially cheap.