Intersolar Middle East

September 26-27, 2017
Conrad Dubai, UAE



Tina Engelhard, Head of Business Development, Intersolar

1. What is the original purpose for the establishment of Intersolar?

Our objective is to increase the share of solar power in the energy supply. From the very beginning, Intersolar’s founders have been guided by a vision of a solar future. To this end, they have cooperated closely with solar energy groups and associations since the exhibition’s early days – initially fighting for sufficient remuneration to cover the costs of generating solar energy, then working on the 100,000 Rooftops program and the German renewable energy act (EEG). This type of collaboration in part laid the groundwork for Intersolar’s success story. Intersolar supports the solar industry far beyond the scope of purely organizational or administrative activities.

2. Why select Dubai as the event location after having last year's event in Saudi Arabia?

Intersolar has been actively involved in the Middle East region since 2013 with various events, like the Intersolar Summit Middle East that took place in Riyadh, but also with networking events. With dmg event’s offer to team up and to combine Gulfsol and Intersolar, we were convinced to organize the future key event in the Middle East. With over 100 exhibitors in year one, we are very confident to reach this goal.

3. What is the focal point for teaming up with dmg Events for this year's summit?

dmg events is a very well-known and successful trade show organizer, working very similar to Solar Promotion International. We appreciate the content driven organization. For both companies it is very important present a high-level conference with very renowned speakers and international experts. We focus on networking, high quality exhibition, and invest in good promotion to bring the right people to the show floor.

4. Who are the expected participants and keynote speakers, and what was the criteria for selecting keynote speakers?

We are very honored to welcome H.E. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, who will speak about their strategy of transforming Dubai into a global hub for sustainability and green economy. Ben Hill, Vice President of Tesla Energy will talk about energy storage. We prefer keynote speakers with a vision and expertise on renewable energy. Besides this year’s keynote speakers, we will welcome H.E. Dr Matar Al Neyadi, Undersecretary, Minister of Energy, UAE, H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El Markabi, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Egypt, H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Saif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Jordan, and representatives from IRENA Jordanian Renewable Energy Society, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Ministry of Electricity and Water, Kuwait., and many more.

5. What are the highlights of the exhibition for visitors and exhibitors?

Our first edition focuses on content and networking. Our Global Solar Leaders’ Summit combined with the Intersolar Middle East highlights many speakers from the MENA region, but also industry experts from Europe and the United States. The conferences covers all major solar market trends, PV financing and a manufacturing session. Intersolar Middle East is supporting the industry growth by offering 17 CPD certified workshops absolutely free of charge in parallel. With solar networking tours to e.g. Sustainable City we invite the international solar community to explore the potential of Dubai and its surrounding emirates from the very top. The sky is the limit!

Tanzeed Alam

1. What are your expectations for this year’s Inter Solar show?

This is the very first edition of the Intersolar show in the Middle East region and I’m looking forward to some thought-provoking discussions with industry partners, regulators and local authorities on potential solutions to increase ambition, implementation and uptake of solar energy in the region. I’m also eager to see the latest innovations and technologies available to implement these solutions. It would also be interesting to gain some greater insights into the region’s full potential for solar energy use, considering the recent successes in the UAE, and understand what is required to achieve that full potential across all sectors.

2. What topics do you think will be high on the agenda this year?

The renewable energy sector is booming and there is a broad range of hot topics that are high on the agenda this year:

  • The role of renewable energy in the local and global energy transition to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement committing the world to limit global warming to 1.5oC above industrial levels. The same was ratified by the world’s two biggest carbon emitters 
  • U.S. and China – and the UAE in September 2016. 
  • Financing solutions to increase renewable energy shares in the GCC market 
  • Grid stability and maturity of technologies for GCC application, including storage 
  • Renewable energy success stories of 2016 and application in the GCC 
  • The feasibility and sustainability of the low cost models for solar energy in the GCC 
  • The role of the private sector to catalyse and accelerate action across all these areas

3. What trends are you seeing in the market currently?

The current trend we see globally is the successful production and harnessing of renewable energy to power countries for 24 hours. Very recently, Portugal, Germany, and Scotland have taken renewable energy production to the next level, and were all able to produce and harness renewable energy electricity to power the countries for at least 24 hours. This is a good indicator that renewable energy and grid technologies have advanced enough to allow for increased ambition on renewable energy power generation, and more specifically, solar energy in the GCC. These successes have also been realised at a time where oil prices are at an all-time low, which also indicates that the renewable energy industry has become resilient, and that technologies are mature, reliable, and profitable even under extreme economic conditions as well.

4. How do you feel about the future prospects for the market in the GCC?

The GCC has great potential to collaborate further on upgrading the grid and become more integrated to handle increased renewable energy capacity. The region is known to have great potential for solar energy power production, and it should invest in realizing the full potential now, to begin its transition towards low carbon production, in suit with global trends, to ensure we remain within the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limits. On a longer term, the GCC can also start building the foundations now to shift away from being an oil and gas exporter and becoming a renewable energy exporter instead. While the UAE prepares to celebrate for ‘the last barrel of oil’, it is worth noting that it has been investing in R&D and infrastructure but more needs to be done to support this long-term goal.

5. How do you feel the GCC compares to the rest of the world when it comes to solar projects and ambitions?

Basking in the sun all year round, the GCC has the potential to become a leader in solar power/energy. New market dynamics in the GCC have allowed for the development of unprecedented low prices of solar energy generation, making it one of the most cost competitive sources of energy. Now is the time for the GCC to capitalise on these dynamics, and put in place the right policies and tools to install more renewable energy, and become world leaders in advancing installations and development of solar technologies internationally, and exporters of renewable energy.

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We look forward to learning more about the upcoming projects in the region, and creating partnerships with like-minded organisations to push forward the ambition on renewable energy, and making action on climate change a priority for the region.

Graeme Sharp BSc (Hons), Head of Smart Energy Advisory, Operational Excellence

1. How important is storage right now for the solar industry?

The incorporation of storage with solar can provide significant additional value dependent upon the characteristics of the connected system in terms of constraints, ancillary services and pricing regimes. This applies to storage co-located with a solar farm or customer PV installations.

2. How is this picture likely to change, and over what timescale?

The features of the connected system and wholesale/retail arrangements are likely to require even greater flexibility over time. This will be dependent upon the rates of penetration of renewable generation and customer reaction to market messages. These will vary by the jurisdictional driving forces in any given region and also the rate of fall in the costs of storage.

3. Who is leading the development of solar-plus-storage?

There are a significant number of storage system manufacturers and developers seeking to exploit formative opportunities that will undoubtedly lead to significant volumes of installations. Investors are also very keen to pursue this market and technology innovation. DNV GL are at the forefront of solar installations, storage technologies and market arrangements to provide the necessary combinations of skill sets and knowledge to service all the necessary stages of investment, build and operation; and have well established relationships with financiers active in this opportunity. An example of DNV GL’s leadership is the GRIDSTOR recommended practice, produced in conjunction with a group of leading industry players, and available from our website.

4. What is the biggest barrier to solar-plus-storage at the moment?

The biggest barrier to solar-plus-storage at the moment is identifying the optimum “value-stacking” arrangements for any given installation that may have site-specific and market-specific considerations. Further, in many jurisdictions there may be benefits which the storage device could provide to the electricity network, which are not currently remunerated.

5. What can be done to overcome this?

Expert consideration of the value opportunities and site specific sizing and installation arrangements is necessary. As storage costs continue to fall, this challenge remains, but will be achievable for more sites.

6. What is the one thing that storage players should think about to improve penetration in the solar market?

Given that installation characteristics and costs can be reasonably well defined for a given site, the focus for storage players should be addressing the market opportunities for “value-stacking” based on appropriate storage technology, sizing and operational characteristics selection.

Muhammed Kazi, Event Director, dmg events

1. Which potential do you identify in the Middle East solar market?

Electricity demand in the Middle East has been growing between 6% and 8% CAGR, and yet some GCC utilites have faced an increase in peak load demand in excess of 12% when comparing the summer period of 2014 and the same period in 2015. In 2016, total electrical energy demand in the Middle East region is expected to exceed 900TWh. Solar project investments in MENA grew from about $160 million in 2010 to about $3.5 billion in 2015, and the size of investment is expected to increase even more.

2. Which countries will become the most exciting markets, and what do you expect to be the drivers for solar and storage deployment?

Morocco, Algeria, UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are the biggest solar markets in the MENA region and will continue to attract investors. Key solar trends in 2016 includes:

  1. Very low LCOW offer 
  2. Low oil and gas prices 
  3. Energy Independency 
  4. Commercial & Industrial solar 
  5. Small-scale distributed generation 
  6. Strengthening electric networks 

3. In 2014, a record number of solar projects were awarded in the Middle East. What are the main factors fuelling this sharp rise?

2015 was a ground breaking year for solar in the Middle East. We could call it the year of tipping point for solar on the Arabian Peninsula. The Middle East region sent several important and constructive signals to Paris. Just before COP21 started, regional solar leader Dubai not only upped its overall renewables target from 15% to 25% by 2030, it increased the target for the Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park from 3 giga-watts (GW) to 5 GW and announced that solar will be mandatory on all rooftops by that time.

4. Intersolar Middle East is taking place for the first time in 2016. What positive effects do you expect for the region, the exhibitors and the industry in general?

Intersolar is the world’s leading exhibition series for the solar industry and the timing to launch Intersolar Middle East couldn’t have been better as solar energy in the UAE is planned to contribute 25% of Dubai’s power needs by 2030. We are already receiving overwhelming response from the industry about Intersolar Middle East and have already key brands on board including Alumil, Coenergy, Kaco etc.

5. What are the highlights of the exhibition for visitors and exhibitors?

We have action packed educational sessions for all our visitors which includes second edition of Global Solar Leaders' Summit, inaugural Intersolar Conference, series of workshops and training sessions. We also have an exciting student contest “Young Leaders' Innovation Challenge” lined by this year which will give university students an opportunity to show their talent and win a chance to advance their career development with leading industry solar manufacturers.

Frank Wouters, Director, EU-GCC Clean Energy Network

1. What are your expectations for this year’s Inter Solar show?

I think it will be a very vibrant show, with a lot of buzz around the increasing cost competitiveness of solar in the region.

2. What topics do you think will be high on the agenda this year?

People are starting to realize that distributed generation, including energy storage, has a lot of potential.

3. What trends are you seeing in the market currently?

Apart from an increasing number of large scale solar initiatives in the region, the market is getting ready for smart energy solutions, which include energy efficiency measures, demand response, distributed generation such as rooftop PV as well as battery storage. Furthermore, we are seeing a growing interest in cost-effective RO for water desalination, as well the roll-out of electric vehicle charging stations; both are enablers for renewable generation.

4. How do you feel about the future prospects for the market in the GCC?

The future market is as bright as the sunshine we enjoy every day 5. How do you feel the GCC compares to the rest of the world when it comes to solar projects and ambitions? The GCC is at the beginning of a steep learning curve. The ambitions are there, the projects are coming.