The sun is a clean and abundant source of energy which can be harnessed using modern technology. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have indicated the presence of high solar irradiance levels across Qatar, making it possible for the nation to tap into the sun's energy to generate some of its own power needs.
Today, solar energy can be converted to electricity in two ways, either directly using photovoltaic cells, or indirectly through solar thermal applications.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. Photons from the sun's radiation strike the solar cells knocking electrons into a higher state of energy thus creating an electrical charge. The charge from multiple solar cells combined will generate a high current or voltage.
Solar Thermal (ST) applications utilize the sun's radiation to produce heat which is then used to generate electricity. One specific type of ST technology is Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) which uses mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that make use of the solar heat to drive turbines or engines for electrical generation.
The QNFSP is planning to utilize the latest advances in PV and ST technologies to build a Solar Park that will produce sufficient energy for its water desalination capacity. The Solar Park is expected to be located in the south of Qatar due to the particularly high solar irradiance levels which are present there in comparison to the rest of the country. There is great potential regarding the scope of harnessing solar energy. It is anticipated that the Solar Park will allocate several plots of land for international companies to establish different solar technologies that will generate electrical power which the QNFSP will then purchase.
Moreover the QNFSP is planning to initiate a solar technology industry in Qatar to meet the Qatar National Vision of 2030's goal for economic diversification. This will represent a stepping-stone which will allow Qatar to become a leading exporter of solar technology and knowledge in the MENA region and internationally. World-class institutes of Higher Education, and Research & Development centres will also be established to meet the required human resources to sustain and further develop this sector.
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