Chevron Ramps Up Solar Project in Qatar
Solar power advocates tout the ample real estate upon which solar panels can be slathered in order to generate clean energy. They have a point, but the reality is more complicated. Dealing with property owners, their tenants and even local regulations can make what appears to be an obvious solution quite complicated. Parking lots are a great place to arrange solar panels. You have open space, and for installers, it is easier to install them above cars than on roofs. To that end, Chevron will partner with GreenGulf, a leading clean energy firm in Qatar, to implement solar canopies at the Qatar Science and Technology Park. The project builds upon Chevron’s increasing investment in solar technology, most notably in California. Any visitor who drives around Doha will notice the ubiquitous sand-colored canopies that from afar look like peaks of frosting. The canopies are critical during the summer when the mercury will surpass 50° Centigrade in the Middle East summer. Gulf Times’ editor Bonnie James explains the benefits these solar enabled parking lots could have in the long run. Each parking bay alone could generate up to 4.4 megawatts of electricity and prevent up to 830 kilograms of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere annually. With Qatar leaders insisting they are committed to a long term sustainable vision for Qatar, solar panels atop of parking spaces are an easy first step towards building a post oil and gas economy. With the bevy of prestigious international events on Doha’s calendar in the coming decade, more initiatives similar this Chevron-GreenGulf venture are crucial to Qatar’s future resilience. Photo of Doha’s evolving skyline courtesy Leon Kaye.