The EU GCC Clean Energy Network in cooperation with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority - DEWA and in association with International Renewable Energy Agency - IRENA as well as other EU and GCC entities, are organising an inception meeting and training workshop on “GCC Solar Photovoltaic Testing Centres Network”, which will take place on 15-16 May 2017 in Dubai, UAE. The aim of the inception meeting is to agree on the formation of the GCC PV Testing Labs network and also develop a consensus on its aims, objectives and organisation.
While the GCC region is blessed with an excellent solar energy ressouces, the whole Gulf region has set ambitious targets for solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment and intends to become a major market for solar PV systems.
On the other side, the region shows a rapid economic growth and urbanization which encourage the proliferation of solar PV applications for not only utility scale, power generation plants or stand-alone installations in the desert but also for other urban and rural services such as rooftop solar, solar parking sheds, solar street lights, solar pumping and desalination.
However, solar PV technologies face specific but common localized issues in the GCC region which include high temperature, humidity and soiling. These conditions vary from country to country in the region and appear to impact negatively the PV market image.
To minimize these harsh climate conditions an adequate testing of PV panels across the region is essential. The short and long term testing of the panels in such harsh extremities of weather shall reduce the uncertainty in performance of the solar panels leading to increased predictability and bankability of solar PV projects. The testing of solar PV technologies requires testing centres which conform to evaluation procedures which are harmonized across the region. The manufacturers, technology leaders and research institutions need unified data based on harmonized testing methodologies for tailoring the technology to local applications and developing solutions such as dust cleaning mechanisms.
In this regard, several stakeholders including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have recommended creating a PV Testing Labs network to achieve coordinated and focused cooperation between these testing centres. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to support to transform these PV Labs to relatively strong market players that can support solar PV deployment in the region.
For this purpose the organisers will mobilise relevant stakeholders in the GCC and the EU to share experiences and best practices. The inception meeting which will be held on the 15th of May will be followed by a one day (16th of May) training workshop that aims to provide an overview of best practices on the methodology and procedures used to test and certify solar PV modules. It aims to help laboratories and testing centers in the GCC countries improve their capabilities to meet international standards.