Middle East


The Islamic Republic of Iran has shown an interest in renewable energy technology, including solar power, and is keen to exploit its abundant solar resource with of STE technology. The government also wants to diversify its power production away from the country’s oil and natural gas reserves.


The Iranian Power Development Company undertook a comprehensive feasibility study on an Integrated Solar Combined Cycle with trough technology from the Electric Power Research Center   (now   the   NIROO   Research   Institute) and  Fichtner  (now  Fichtner  Solar).  The  study has identified that Esfahan, Fars, Kerman and Yazd are all excellent regions for installing solar thermal power plants in Iran, but Yazd, where the entire high plateau is characterized by an annual DNI of over 2,500 kWh/m2/yr, was finally selected as the site for the first plant. Iran had approached GEF with a request to finance part of the cost of the solar field. As GEF was not in the position to allocate any additional resources for this request, Iran, in 2005, changed the initial plant configuration with a solar component of 64 MW to a configuration with a solar field equivalent to 17 MW. The Yazd ISCC began operation in 2010. No new developments in the market have been announced since then.


In 2002, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, which is responsible for the energy sector, made STE a strategic component of the electricity market. Israel introduced feed- in  incentives  for  solar  IPPs  from  September 2006, effective for 20 years. This was following a feasibility study on STE incentives completed in 2003 and evaluated by the Israeli Public Utilities Authority.35 Also in 2002, the Israeli government set a national goal of 5% renewable energy electricity production to be reached by 2016. In order to further reduce its dependence on  fossil  energy,  the  Israeli  government  has since set a new target to cover 10% of the country’s electricity need through renewable energy by 2020 and 50% (or more) by 2050. Those goals were translated by the Ministry of National Infrastructures to an installed capacity goal of 2,760 MW by 2020.[1] This set of goals would mean a total production of 6.43 TWh from renewable sources by 2020.[2]


A new feed-in tariff for large-scale STE and PV plants was introduced in 2011 to help meet these objectives, introducing a quota of 460 MW.


The  231  MW  Ashalim  complex  includes  two solar thermal power plants which, will generate 2% of Israel’s total installed capacity. The first phase of the Ashalim complex – 121 MW with CR technology, now entering construction and expected to be operational by mid-2017, is being built by a joint venture named Megalim between France’s Alstom, US developer Brightsource and Israeli energy and infrastructure fund NOY. The second phase of the project – 110 MW with PT – is being built by Negev Energy, a joint company established by Spanish group Abengoa and Israel’s Shikun & Binui, in the Ashalim area of the Negev Desert. It is expected to be operational by 2018.38  The Israel Electricity Corporation will buy the electricity generated by the plant under a 25-year PPA. In addition to avoiding more than 300,000 tonnes of CO2  emissions a year, the solar plant will also retain enough heat to continue producing power through the night. The Ashalim complex will be Israel’s biggest solar plant and one of the world’s largest STE complexes.


Israel is moving to an era where more supportive regulations are created for renewable technologies with a net positive cost-benefit market value in the long run.  Beginning in 2008, the PUA, for example, began issuing regulations to enable the production of electricity by the private market. In 2013, the PUA started preparing grid parity and net-metering regulations to further integrate renewable energy into the Israeli electricity market and allow the local market to flourish and harvest the benefit of renewables, especially solar power, which Israel is blessed with.


[1]  The Green Energy Association of Israel, http://www.renewable.org.il/he-il/english.htm.

[2] SolarPACES.


Jordan has a long-standing interest in large- scale solar thermal power generation. Over the last  decade, there have been several proposals and analyses of solar thermal potential in Jordan, although there have been difficulties progressing due to the instability in the Middle East.


Currently, Jordan relies heavily on imported primary energy, about 96%. Demand for energy is increasing at a rate of 5.5%, whilst electricity demand is growing 7.5% per year. Growth in demand for energy and electricity is expected to double by 2020. At the same time, the country is eager to reduce its dependence on energy imports and diversify its energy resources.


The solar energy potential in Jordan is enormous as it lies within the Sun Belt region of the world. Average annual solar radiation ranges between 5 and 7 kWh/m2, which suggests a potential of at least 1,000 GWh of solar-generated electricity per year. However, solar energy, like other forms of renewable energy, remains underutilized in Jordan. According to the National Energy Research Centre, however, the government expects to increase the share of renewable energy to 10% by 2020. Solar’s contribution to that target is expected to be 300 MW to 600 MW (STE, PV and hybrid power plants).40   The government hopes to construct the first STE demonstration project in the short to medium term in Aqaba. Plans are also underway for a solar desalination plant.


One of the most promising potential investments is the installation of more than 250 MW of STE in Jordan’s Ma’an development zone through a series of private sector projects. At full capacity, these Ma’an projects could meet some 4% of the Jordan’s electricity needs, reducing reliance on electricity imports from neighbouring countries. Surplus energy could in turn be sold to Syria, Egypt and Palestine, whose networks are connected to Jordan.


In 2013, the French company Solar Euromed was awarded the international call for tenders that was open for several STE technologies.41 The Jordanian Authorities officially designated Solar Euromed for the construction and commissioning of the WECSP power plant. The tender award demonstrates the cost competitiveness of the LFR technology. The project is also located in Ma’an, near Al-Fujeij village in the Southern part of the Kingdom of Jordan. The site has excellent an excellent DNI, even for Jordan, at more than 2,600 kWh/m²/yr.


Turkey is in an advantageous position for solar energy, compared to the rest of Europe, due to its high DNI levels. The Turkish government has set a renewable electricity production goal of 30% by 2023.


Turkey enacted its first specific renewable energy law in May 2005 (the “Law on Utilization of Renewable Energy Sources for the Purpose of Generating Electrical Energy”). The renewable energy law works in line with “Renewable Energy Source Certificates”. The law introduced fixed tariffs for electricity generated from renewable energy sources and a purchase obligation for the distribution companies holding retail licenses from the certified renewable energy producers.


The current financial incentive for STE technology is calculated as the sum of a base tariff (13.3 UScents/kWh) plus a domestic manufacturing adder, which is assigned when certain components are locally sourced. The adders are structured as reported below:

  • Vacuum tubes 2.4 US cents/kWh
  • Reflecting surface panels 0.6 US cents/kWh
  • Solar tracking systems 0.6 US cents/kWh
  • Heat energy storage systems 1.3 US cents/kWh
  • Tower and steam production system 2.4 US cents/kWh
  • Stirling engine 1.3 US cents/kWh
  • Integration of solar panels and mechanical systems 0.6 US cents/kWh


Therefore the maximum contribution for localizing the supply chain is 9.2 US cents/kWh and the overall threshold for the FIT is 22.5 US cents/kWh.[1]

The 5 MW Greenway STE Mersin Solar Tower Plant is the first operational commercial plant in Turkey, located in Mersin. Natural circulation direct steam generation boiler is used. It commences operation in March 2013.

[1] CSP Today.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE is another region with great solar potential. The amount of solar radiation received ranges between 2,050 and 2,800 kWh/m2/yr, which is among the best in the world.


The UAE began actively promoting the development of solar power generation in April of 2008. Both emirates have ambitious initial targets: Abu Dhabi wants solar to account for 7% of its output by 2020, whilst Dubai is aiming for 5% by 2030. Abu Dhabi has launched projects using both PV and STE technologies, whilst Dubai is currently focusing on PV systems.


In January 2013, the UAE inaugurated the largest standalone STE plant in the world, Shams 1. At 100 MW, Shams 1 extends over an area of 2.5 km², with a solar field consisting of 768 PT collector.  The project generates enough electricity to power 20,000 homes and avoids 175,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every tear.


Despite the considerable potential for STE in the UAE, the industry has experienced slower-than-expected industry growth to date, lagging behind other sun-belt countries.  It is expected, however, that the UAE will soon formulate a more concrete local content policy to create a new market as it has the resources like the necessary infrastructure and labour force needed to localise the STE supply chain.


Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will allocate a 200-megawatt concentrated solar power project this year. The 200-megawatt CSP project will be part of the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The solar park already has a 213-megawatt operational capacity based on photovoltaic technology. Construction on the 800-megawatt third phase of the solar power park has also begun recently.

DEWA announced on 4 June 2017 the prices offered from four consortia. The lowest bid for the Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) project came in at 9.45 US cents/kWh (approx. 8.4 €cts/kWh). Participating consortia were [ACWA Power (Saudi Arabia), Shanghai Electric (China), BrightSource (USA)]; [Alfanar (Saudi Arabia), Suncan (China)]; [Engie (France), SolarReserve (USA), Power China (China), Sepco3 (China)] and [Masdar (UAE), EDF (France), Abengoa (Spain), Harbin Electric (China)]

Under the recently announced Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 plan, Dubai targets 44% energy from renewable energy sources, 38% from gas, 12% from ‘clean fuels’ and 6% from nuclear energy. Almost $17 billion will be invested to expand the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.


News: Dubai set for world’s cheapest night-time solar power

DEWA's 200-MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park planning

DEWA's 200-MW fourth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum solar park planning