Here comes the sun: Solar energy in the Middle East

In this interview with Gulf News, Jeremy Crane, CEO & Co-Founder of Yellow Door Energy, expressed optimism towards the solar industry in the Middle East.

“In Dubai people see solar as something that’s exciting. It’s sexy. It’s not bleeding edge of new opportunities but it is the leading edge of where a smart business should go. I think there’s a very strong appetite for it. But there are hurdles to adoption,” he said.

Three factors are working against greater uptake of solar power generation among UAE businesses, says Jeremy Crane, CEO of alternative energy consultancy Yellow Door.

Cost isn’t one of them. Crane estimates going solar saves Dubai firms 15-20 per cent on energy bills.

Yellow Door recently completed an energy and water savings project for Novotel in Fujairah, and installed solar panels for Unilever’s factory in Dubai Industrial Park, which opened in December. It is working with several major retailers and construction companies.

He cited an increasing move to energy diversity, and authorities’ increasing acceptance of alternative energy throughout the Middle East.

Top of Crane’s list of challenges is the short-term business environment. “In many cases businesses have a short-term lease. If you only have a 5- to 10-year lease, why would you get into a long-term investment?” he said.

The second obstacle is technical — a firm’s building may not be strong enough to support sufficient solar panels, it may not have a suitable roof, or it may be located next to a dust-producing neighbour that would reduce panel efficiency and increase maintenance costs.

Finally, he believes some firms — particularly those whose revenues are doing well — may not prioritize a reduction in energy costs. “Multinationals that have a deeper management structure are more aware of these opportunities and are definitely moving forward,” he added.

To read the full interview with Gulf News, please visit this page. 

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