In the majestic setting of the Liwa Ballroom at the InterContinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) unveiled the winners of the 2013 Middle East Solar Awards during a gala ceremony on November 19, 2013.
In total, ten trophies spanning several sectors were contested.
The Woman of the Year accolade went to Michelle T. Davies, Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group at Eversheds LLP. Mrs. Davies won the award on the back of her active involvement in supporting governments in the UAE, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on forming solar policy and regulation.
The Media Personality of the Year award went to Robin Mills, the author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis and Capturing Carbon. Mr. Mills is also an outspoken and well-respected columnist at The National newspaper, with over 7,000 followers on Twitter.
The Legal Advisor of the Year award went to Chadbourne & Parke, an early and active supporter of the Middle Eastern solar industry. The international law firm is currently advising on some of the most important solar projects across the region.
Two of the most hotly contested awards were Regional Company of the Year and Project of the Year. Both of them went to Acwa Power. The Riyadh-based company has been busy developing a number of large-scale solar projects in the MENA region over the past five years, including the world-scale 160MW Noor 1 project in Morocco which earned the company Project of the Year honors.
Another big winner was Jordan. The country’s Electricity & Regulatory Commission won the Policymaker of the Year Award and its state-owned utility, NEPCO, scooped up the Utility Company of Year. The two organizations are currently putting in place the foundation for what will emerge as the largest solar market in the Middle East in 2014. In a matter of weeks, Jordan is expected to sign power purchase agreements for over 220MW in solar power generation capacity.
The Commercial Advisor of the Year went to Access, a Dubai-based project development advisory firm focused on the power and water sector in Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Access is currently advising on 90% of all active I(W)PP tenders in the MENA region.
The Technology of the Year award went to Masdar Institute for their Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment (ReCREMA) initiative. ReCREMA has developed a pioneering ‘solar atlas’ that utilizes robust satellite imagery to map the solar potential across the UAE.
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award was reserved for Mr. Abdulmohsen Al Shoeibi, Managing Partner of Riyadh-based Dar Solar and the Chairman of the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association. Mr. Al Shoeibi has been a guiding light in the region’s solar industry for the past 20 years.
“This ceremony is a reflection of the growing scale and significance of the solar industry in the Middle East,” said Vahid Fotuhi, President of MESIA. “We are thrilled to see how each year the solar projects and achievements are getting bigger and better. The future for this region is looking very bright,” he added.
The awards selection was conducted by a panel of 7 independent judges from around the world and chaired by Dr. Eesa Mohammed Bastaki, President of The University of Dubai and the recipient of Sheikh Rashid’s Award for Scientific Excellence.
The annual gala ceremony, organized by MESIA in conjunction with the 2013 META Projects Conference, was attended by over 200 dignitaries, government officials and senior business executives from across the Middle East.