Arab World Watch

1 GW?!  That's about the equivalent of a small-scale nuclear power plant.  This is one REALLY BIG bet on Solar power: "Dubai is planning a 1 GW solar project using both solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) technology in Seih Al Dahal near Dubai-Al Ain road."  (Source). "The Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which represents and investment of Dh12 billion (€3.27bn), is expected to be ready in 2030, writes Gulf News. The first 10 MW phase of the project, representing an investment of Dh120 million (€32.67m), is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2013."  Id.  

April 26, 2013 update: The UAR opens "the largest concentrated solar power plant in operation anywhere in the world."  (Source).

April, 2013 update -- U.S. Armed Forces and Saudi Arabia solar stuff.

March, 2013 update:  100 MW Solar Thermal plant (world's largest) completed!  "Shams-1" article here.

December, 2012: World's largest single-unit (100MW) Concentrated Solar Power plant to be soon completed in Abu Dhabi.

9/12: "Saudi Arabia’s energy advisor has recommended that the country add up to 41 gigawatts (GW) of solar power, 17 GW of nuclear energy, and 4 GW of geothermal and waste-to-energy capacity over the next 20 years.  For perspective, the world’s biggest country for solar power generation, Germany, just hit the 30 GW mark in capacity. Eventually, it is hoped that solar power plants will make up about one-third of the kingdom’s energy mix, and the kingdom is seeking $109 billion in investments to help make it happen, reports Bloomberg.  That’s a huge amount of money, when you consider the $136 billion total spent on solar energy development in 2011, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance....February 2012, Saudi-based IDEA Polysilicon, which is financed by Gulf investors, announced it would build a $1.1 billion solar polysilicon plant in the country as a step toward moving away from oil dependence."  (Source). Here's another source on that.  Mecca goes solar.

5/12: $109 billion investment by Saudi Arabia in Solar. Money quotes: "The government is targeting 25,000 megawatts from solar thermal plants, which use mirrors to focus the sun’s rays on heating fluids that turns a power turbine. Another 16,000 megawatts would come from photovoltaic panels,"   Also: "The state could generate an internal rate of return of approximately 12 percent if it built a PV plant and sold the displaced oil on the international markets.”   And: "The analyst is assuming initial capital costs for the solar projects of about $2.17 per watt of capacity installed."  Finally: "Saudi Arabia may burn 850 million barrels of oil a year, or 30 percent of its crude output, to generate electricity by 2030 if doesn’t become efficient in energy consumption, Electricity & Co-Generation Regulatory Authority Governor Abdullah Al-Shehri said in a presentation in RiyadhMay 8."

April, 2011:  Israel intends to be the world leader in renewable energy.  (Source).