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Qatar signs $470 mn solar deal for its first solar energy plant

Gas-rich Qatar signed a $470-million deal to build its first solar energy plant, capable of meeting up to one-tenth of peak national power demand. The capital cost of the venture is 1.7 billion riyals ($470 million), with state firms taking a 60-percent stake and foreign investors 40 percent.

The Al-Kharsaah plant, near the capital, is a 10 square kilometre joint venture with French and Japanese partners due for completion in 2022 ahead of the football World Cup. Eight times the solar power pledged in the World Cup bid will be produced.

Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, vowed at the United Nations last year that the tournament would be carbon neutral, but gave little detail on how this would be achieved. By contrast, Abu Dhabi’s Sweihan plant, one of the world’s largest solar projects, produces 1,177 megawatts.