Saudi Arabia, the biggest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the United Arab Emirates, fourth-biggest in the group, are seeking to add 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity, enough to electrify 200,000 homes. The forecast expansion, which includes Jordan, will require loans and export credits, said Vahid Fotuhi, president of the Dubai-based Emirates Solar Industry Association.
Governments across the Middle East and North Africa consider sun and wind energy as crucial for meeting the needs of growing populations and economies, with Saudi Arabia leading the way. Oilp-roducers want to develop renewables to conserve more crude for export, while countries relying on imported fuel see local green power as a cheaper alternative. State support for utilities and a growth in regional power demand of about 5 percent a year mean companies such as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) can borrow at rates that are 100 basis points, or 1 percentage point, lower than Spain's Abengoa Solar SA. Risk Profile