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Qatar Says Solar Program Held Back by Issues of Scale, Dust

Qatar’s effort to expand its solar industry is being held up by issues including the scale of the projects planned and dust that blows in from desert areas, one of the nation’s most senior leaders said.

“We are one of the biggest believers in solar,” said Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, a former energy minister who is chairman of Qatar Electricity & Water Co., said at a press conference in Doha today. “We have some technology problems. I am a big believer that technology will solve it.”

He said Qatar’s projects will cover huge areas and require careful planning and that “we are receiving a lot of dust from the frontier areas, and the dust is one of the challenges. It reduces sharply the efficiency of solar.”

Qatar, which is hosting this year’s United Nations climate talks, plans to install 1,800 megawatts of solar power capacity by 2014, government-backed venture said on Oct. 17.

The nation aims to boost solar power as part of plans to meet 20 percent of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030, Qatar Solar Technologies said in a statement at the time. QSTec is a venture between state-controlled Qatar Foundation, Germany’s SolarWorld AG and the Qatar Development Bank.

Qatar, which has no large renewable energy plants, joins Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi in announcing clean energy plans to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and related emissions.

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