Solar Energy in the Arabian Peninsula: German, Swiss Investment Firms Plan $2-Billion Project

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Swiss and German private equity funds Terra Nex and Middle East Best Select announced plans to build 400 megawatts (MW) of solar power generating capacity in the southeastern Arabian peninsula country of Oman, according to recent news announcements. The $2-billion project calls for construction of solar power installations, as well as facilities to manufacture solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for use in Oman and for export.

The investments add momentum to a solar power industry searching for emerging markets in which to invest, as well as to possibly take up some of the excess inventory of solar PV panels that flooded the marketplace in 2011, bringing prices down some 60%. These investments come hot on the heels of the United Arab Emirate of Dubai announcing a 20-year, $3.27-billion plan to build a 1-gigawatt (GW) mixed solar PV and concentrated solar power (CSP) station.

Oman clean energy plans call for renewable energy resources to provide 10% of the country’s energy needs by 2020. “Oman’s stable business environment and pro-environmental policies makes the Sultanate a natural partner to this project,” David Heimhofer, Terra Nex chairman was quoted as saying, from a statement in a Reuters News report.

Some $600 million of the total projected $2-billion investment would be in the form of equity capital put up by the Swiss and German private equity firms. The majority is to be covered by loans from European financial institutions.

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