An hour away from the gleaming towers of Dubai, countless rows of solar panels face into the desert sun. From the rooftop of an administrative building at Mohammed Bin Rashid Solar Park, one can gaze across the field of blue-grey photovoltaic panels stretching to the horizon. This impressive sight is just the second part of an ambitious scheme to build one of the world’s largest solar energy plants, which will be able to generate 5GW of power by 2030.
The first two phases can provide up to 218MW of electricity. A third phase is underway and will add 800MW more once complete. In terms of the overall energy needs of the UAE, the electricity provided by the solar park is essentially negligible. But it is a clear sign of a growing trend to develop renewable energy schemes in the world’s oil-producing heartland, the Middle East.