A power plant with 1.8 million solar panels inaugurated in Qatar

1.8 million solar panel plant inaugurated in Qatar

UPDATE DAY

Qatar, one of the largest producers of liquefied natural gas in the world, inaugurated its first solar power plant on Tuesday in partnership with TotalEnergies, for an investment of 1.7 billion Qatari riyals (about $450 million). 

Located in Al Kharsaah, west of Doha, this solar farm of more than 1.8 million solar panels covers 10 km2, making it “one of the largest in the region”, according to the minister of Energy and President of Qatar Energy, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.

With a capacity of 800 megawatts, the project launched in 2016 and operational since June aims to cover 10% of the country's consumption in electricity.

According to the organizers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, who promise a carbon-neutral tournament, the plant will supply the stadiums with electricity. During a press conference, Mr. Al-Kaabi however indicated that he had no information on this point.

In addition to TotalEnergies (19.6%), the Japanese company Marubeni (20, 4%) is a partner in the Al Kharsaah power plant.

The French gas and oil giant also signed two major contracts with Qatar this year for the development of the largest natural gas field in the world. , the North Field.

“The fact that TotalEnergies has recently become Qatar's first international partner is a strong sign,” commented CEO Patrick Pouyanné, interviewed by AFP.

“It is the result of a lot of work for several years, but I think it's a good thing at a time when the question of Europe's security of supply arises for all of us”, he added.

“It looks like it's the only company working in Qatar!” Al-Kaabi laughed. “We have the same mentality: to be at the cutting edge of technology, to try to go to remote areas of exploration and also to renewable energies,” he explained.

“I think our partnership will get even stronger, but that doesn't mean we don't have other very important partners and soon you will see us signing with others,” said slipped the minister, while the country has yet to reveal the names of other foreign companies involved in the North Field.

Qatar, which is aiming for a capacity of 5 gigawatts of solar energy by 2035, announced at the end of August two other major photovoltaic power plant projects that should enable it to more than double its production within two years.

The Al Kharsaah solar farm should be “extended” by here 2035, specified the minister.

The emirate is however lagging behind its neighbors in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia announced this year its intention to exceed the 5 GW threshold by 2030, and solar power plants have existed in the United Arab Emirates for almost a decade.