All GCC countries are projected to substantial rise in energy demand, while Qatar's share of GCC energy demand is projected to increase from around 10% to 15% from 2010 to 2020. Qatar also ranked in the top ten for GHG emissions per capita worldwide in 2008. The long-term costs of green house gas (GHG) emission reductions will depend, in part, on future technological innovations, many of which are presently unknown. Alternative energy, such as solar in particular, will necessarily make a significant contribution to target this goal, given that the region has access to one of the world's most abundant solar resources. However, solar energy contribution will begin from a much smaller base than oil and natural gas, meanwhile the infrastructure as well as human capacity to support it on the same scale does not currently exist. Hence, it is vital to work on a shared global vision to select the research and development portfolio that will reduce risk in investment to embark upon solar projects, and help motivate further investment in the commercialization of technology. This paper represents an example toward this aim.

The direct conversion of solar energy to electricity by photovoltaic cells or thermal energy in concentrated solar power systems is emerging as a leading contender for next-generation green power production. Solar cells capable of producing power in excess of 500 MW were manufactured since 2002 providing electricity to a variety of applications. The photovoltaic's (PV) area is rapidly evolving based on new materials and deposition approaches. At present, PV is predominately based on crystalline and polycrystalline Si and is growing at >40% per year with production rapidly approaching 3 gigawatts/year with PV installations supplying <1% of energy used in the world. Increasing cell efficiency and reducing manufacturing expenses are critical in achieving reasonable costs to achieve grid parity. There is also the promise of increased efficiency by use of multi-junction cells or hybrid devices organized at the nanoscale. The paper includes analysis of emerging manufacturing technologies and ongoing materials research in context of current industry situation to meet the cost reduction goals.


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