Qatar Foundation, the country’s largest single producer of solar energy, has announced plans to increase its output some 150 percent (by an additional 5MW) over the next few years.
The news comes as Qatar embarks on ambitions plans to dramatically increase its production of power from renewable sources.
In December last year, Minister of Energy and Industry Affairs Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada pledged that 2 percent of the country’s energy would come from renewable sources by 2020.
Qatar is also aiming to generate 200MW of solar energy over the next six years, which would provide enough energy to power up to 66,000 homes a year.
QF currently produces 3.3MW of power from eight sites in Education City that have photovoltaic systems. These sites include Texas A&M University at Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and four new solar car park shades.
The foundation is responsible for up to 85 percent of Qatar’s total solar photovoltaic power and produces enough energy to power 471 Qatari houses, according to Ibrahim Al-Haidos, project manager of QF’s Solar Smart Grid, as quoted by the Gulf Times.
QF has also announced the establishment of a new Energy Monitoring Center (EMC), based in EC’s control room. The center – one of the first of its kind in the Gulf – will monitor solar power generation across all QF sites.
It will also integrate existing solar power systems at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC), the QF Student Housing Complex and the solar testing facility at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).
Developed by GreenGulf, in partnership with Qatar Foundation Capital Projects and ASTAD Project Management, the center will enable real-time administration of all solar and power quality monitoring systems from a central location, for more efficient operation and maintenance.
It is the first commercial photovoltaic project approved by Kahramaa for grid connection, and will be linked to Kahramaa’s conservation and efficiency control center to show the amount of solar energy the QF systems are feeding into the national power grid.
Speaking to Doha News, a QF spokesperson said:
“The control room is part of QF Facilities Management and is manned by operation and maintenance engineers round the clock. It is not open to the public, although visits for students and researchers can always be arranged through request and approval from Qatar Foundation.”
Renewable energy growth
Qatar’s renewable energy drive is currently being headed by state-run electricity and water company Kahramaa. The authority is currently piloting a $34 million 5MW-10MW project.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Qatar Solar Energy unveiled what it described as a “first-of-its-kind” solar panel factory in the country.
According to an Al Jazeera report, the facility is aiming to become the largest power producer in the region, with an ability to generate up to 300MW of energy a year – enough power for up to 100,000 homes annually.
Qatar is also underlining its commitment to developing solar technology by hosting a gathering of 300 of the world’s experts in the field, with the Solar Qatar Summit in November this year.