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First Solar: Sustainable Solar Energy Industry Has Potential to Create Jobs, Local Value In an interview for the World Future Energy Summit 2014, Christopher Burghardt says First Solar is confident about the solar power market in the MENA region

Abu Dhabi, Dec 4, 2013 – (ACN Newswire) – Creating a sustainable, solar energy industry should be a top regional priority, according to a senior executive of First Solar, one of the world’s leading solar energy companies, and exhibitor at the World Future Energy Summit.

In an interview for the World Future Energy Summit, Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), said, “The MENA region obviously has the sun, a fantastic and abundant resource, making it a natural hub for solar energy. The eyes of the world are on the MENA region in terms of development of solar energy, with a lot of leading companies here, making big investments. We believe that MENA will be one of the leading regions, if not the leading region, for solar energy in the future.”

“What we need to do is make sure the programmes are implemented so that they lead to the creation of a sustainable industry, which would lead to job and local value creation. It is really about harnessing an abundantly available local resource and turning it into an industry. Solar should be at the top of any economic policy in terms of industry creation.”

Burghardt said First Solar was confident of sustained growth for solar power in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region with a number of projects completed and under development.

“Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a lot of dynamism in the sector, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA.CARE) came out with a white paper that explained how the sector could be developed in the country. The Dubai Water & Electricity Authority (DEWA), here in UAE, awarded us a 13 megawatt power plant project which we recently completed on schedule. In addition, there are other markets such as Morocco and Jordan that have progressed in terms of rolling out their renewable energy projects,” said Burghardt.

“For net energy exporters like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, solar energy offers an opportunity to displace fuel used for electricity production, which is often subsidised today, and turn it into higher value exports. For net importers such as Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and others, solar helps in terms of hedging the future cost of electricity, with the added benefit of bringing about energy security,” he added.

“Hopefully in ten years we will be talking about a big industry with all the positives that are expected from it and where companies have grown significantly with local partners and have contributed significantly to the electricity production in the markets across the region. Meanwhile, I am happy to see First Solar once again involved with WFES, an important international event that brings government and industry decision-makers together to change the future of energy,” concluded Burghardt.

Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, the World Future Energy Summit 2014 (WFES) takes place from 20-22 January in Abu Dhabi. The seventh edition of the Summit is the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), a global platform that addresses the interconnected challenges affecting the widespread acceleration and adoption of sustainable development and renewable energy.

WFES will be co-located with the second International Water Summit and the inaugural EcoWASTE exhibition, also hosted by Masdar.

About World Future Energy Summit (WFES)

Held under the patronage of H.H General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the 7th edition of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) runs from 20-22 January 2014 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre with the theme of ‘Powering the Future of Energy Innovation and Investment’.

Since its inception in 2008, WFES has grown to become the leading discussion platform for renewable energy, clean technology and sustainability, and it is now considered the preeminent international event for government and industry decision makers to find viable, sustainable solutions to the world’s growing energy challenges.

Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, WFES 2014 is the centrepiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the largest ever gathering on sustainability in the Middle East. The event comprises a world-class conference that offers an unparalleled forum for political, business and intellectual debate and a large-scale exhibition which facilitates networking and transactions between manufacturers, suppliers and customers across both the public and private sectors.

WFES 2014 also features a Project and Finance Village, a Sustainable Living Expo, a Young Future Energy Leaders programme, Tech Talk, and various corporate events and social engagements. For more information, visitwww.worldfutureenergysummit.com.


Naji El Haddad
Show Director - WFES
Email: naji.haddad@reedexpo.ae
T: +971 2 4090 499

Nathan Wilson
Asda'a Burson-Marsteller
Email: nathan.wilson@bm.com
T: +971 2 6334 133

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