At a recent function in Dubai, I found myself chatting with a witty banker from the UK. When he found out I work in the solar industry, his first comment was “well, there is certainly no shortage of sun here”. We both nodded as we looked out at the glaring summer sun. Then came the inevitable follow up question: “Why is it that we don’t see more solar power?” The nodding stops. The sun kept glaring.
It is certainly a valid question. How is it that one of the sunniest regions in the world has one of the lowest levels of solar energy? The Middle East as a whole accounts for less than 0.5 percent of the global solar market. Even the tiny city state of Luxembourg, with a population of just 500,000, generates more solar energy than the entire Middle East.