Dr Khalid Klefeekh Al Hajri, Chairman and CEO of Qatar Solar Technologies (QSTec), a member of Qatar Foundation said over 121 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity was installed last year, across the world, setting a new record of achievement for this flourishing energy sector, with almost half of this coming from emerging markets.
Delivering the keynote address at the Energy Security Summit 2016 in Germany, Dr Al Hajri lauded the record investment in the international renewable energy sector in 2015, reaching $321bn globally.
His address, entitled "Transition to Renewable Energy - Evolution, Not Revolution," described the global move from conventional to renewable sources of energy as a trend that was part of a consistent progression to meet the growing need for power in a reliable, sustainable and cost-effective way.
In addition to Dr Al Hajri, other notable speakers included Barbara Hendricks, the German Federal Environment Minister, and Michael Schmidt, CEO, BP Europe.
This conference was the fourth instalment of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Forum that brings together decision-makers from across the globe to discuss sustainable technologies and the achievement of a diversified energy supply. It was hosted by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
Dr Al Hajri said, "At the Paris Agreement on climate change, in December 2015, government leaders agreed that renewables were key to reducing green house gasses. Something we know about the solar industry is that as the cost of producing electricity reduces, the number of installations increases remarkably, and we are seeing this right across the world today."
As of 2015, the renewable energy sector growth accounts for more than half of all new power generation worldwide. It is projected that by 2040 the amount of energy produced from renewables will increase to 60 percent, with the solar energy sector having the majority share at 26 percent.
He concluded his speech by emphasising that in order to enable the renewable energy sector to truly consolidate its successes, the various stakeholders in the industry must cooperate to address the challenges of continued cost reductions and energy storage.
Dr Al Hajri cited the example of the consortium formed by QSTec, and the two German companies, SolarWorld and Centrotherm, as a model of different organizations pooling together their intellectual prowess and physical assets to optimise benefits, and urged others to form similar alliances to accelerate industry growth.
"The oil and gas industry has been collaborating together for years and has had tremendous success in reducing costs and improving efficiencies," said Dr Al Hajri.
"I strongly encourage the renewables industry to learn from this and, like QSTec, form strong consortiums that will enable us to address these challenges sooner."
QSTec has established a solar energy industry in Qatar, as well as initiated a series of countrywide education initiatives to encourage the creative use of solar energy technologies, design and sustainability.