Masdar ditches plan to make solar panels

Low UAE demand forces Masdar to ditch plan to make solar panels

Masdar City near Abu Dhabi.
Masdar City near Abu Dhabi.

Masdar has ditched its plan to manufacture solar panels in the UAE due to a lack of demand, according to Frank Wouters, the director overseeing the solar panel manufacturing unit.

Masdar PV had aimed to begin construction of a plant in Taweelah, between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, by end 2009, but put this plan on hold in 2010.

“You need scale, and you need a regional market for that to make sense,” Wouters told The National.

The price of solar panels is dropping all over the world as the technology improves and supplies increase in response to government subsidies.

Fears of oversupply have increased further after leading markets such as Germany and Spain moved last year to cut their feed-in tariff incentive schemes, leading to reduced demand.

Some analysts predict the market will be oversupplied by as much as 100% in 2011, with demand not being restored to 2010 levels until 2012 at the earliest.

Masdar PV is continuing to manufacture thin-film solar panels through its current production facility in Germany.

Last year the completion deadline for Masdar City was pushed back by at least four years to 2020. It was also announced that the project would no longer rely completely on on-site renewables for power, while a planned personal rapid transport system was downscaled to a pilot project rather than a city-wide rollout.

Masdar is still forging ahead with such renewable energy as a 20 MW wind farm on Yas Island, for which it is now evaluating construction bids, as well as a 100 MW solar power plant, which is currently under construction.

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