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UAE sees 1,000 solar power jobs in two years

ABU DHABI: With the renewable sector expanding globally, around 1,000 solar power jobs will be created in the UAE during the next two years, according to a report.

The National quoted a report by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) as saying that the worldwide renewable energy employment grew 18 percent last year compared to 2013.

This trend is set to continue in the UAE, particularly for the country’s solar power sector, with 1,000 jobs expected to be added, according to the Middle East Solar Industry Association (Mesia), an industry group based in the UAE, the report said.

MESIA Founder and president Vahid Fotuhi was quoted as saying that the jobs will be created in both large projects, such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, and the installation of smaller rooftop solar applications.

“Many jobs will be created through the residential and commercial rooftop solar schemes such as Shams Dubai, which will create jobs in manufacturing, engineering, procurement, construction, operations, financing and development,” he reportedly said.

Shams Dubai is an initiative from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), which has issued a set of regulations for the generation of solar energy in buildings as well as connection to the grid as part of plans to encourage more solar installations in the emirate, the report said.

Larger projects will also offer new employment opportunities, it added.

Meanwhile, Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s Acwa, which has been awarded 200 megawatts worth of work in Dewa’s Mohammed bin Rashid photovoltaic (PV) park, reportedly said that the full project, excluding construction, could create as many as 300 jobs, both directly and indirectly.

He added that the project would also lead to new UAE jobs in the solar energy supply chain.

The Irena report also said that solar PV is the largest global renewables employer, leaving behind biofuels, wind, small hydropower and geothermal energy, making up almost a third, or 2.5 million, of the 7.7 million global renewable energy jobs.

“If the renewable energy targets set by GCC countries by 2030 are met, 120,000 jobs annually could be created [in the region],” Rabia Ferroukhi, the deputy director of knowledge, policy and finance at Irena was quoted as saying by the news portal.

For instance, Qmega, a UAE-based company that designs and manufactures PV products, will grow expand its workforce 25 percent in the next three months, specifically in sales, The National reported.

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