Islamic Finance and Clean Energy Meet in Qatar
Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec) just secured financing for its US$1 billion polysilicon manufacturing plant outside of Doha. The agreement with Masraf al Rayan not only pushes Qatar on the path towards establishing a post-oil economy, but also stays true to the tenants of Islamic finance. The plan to open the facility next year in the Ras Lafan Industrial City, which broke ground last October, is still on schedule. The plant will have the capacity to churn out 8000 metric tons of high-grade polysilicon annually, enough to power 240,000 houses with solar energy. With much of the world skeptical over Qatar’s ability and qualifications to both host international events like the 2022 World Cup and truly commit to an economy not reliant on fossil fuels, the deal is welcome news. Qatar’s transformation is years away from reality, but is nonetheless exciting to watch. While the debate over solar’s future is turning nasty here in the U.S., Qatar may end up being the world’s friendliest haven for the solar engineer interested considering a career in the Middle East. From the Editor: To understand what Islamic Finance is about, I suggest reading the publications of Harvard Law School’s Islamic Finance Project, the work of which Marcy Murninghan partially authored. Read her excellent article on how Islamic finance shares values with the socially responsible investing and the corporate social responsibility communities, too. Photo of Doha's financial district at night courtesy Leon Kaye.