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14-16 February 2017 Dubai World Trade Centre

16 February 2017


Bankable Projects, Easy Money & Risk Management

10:00 Networking tea

10:50 Welcome remarks

11:00 Forecasting MEA solar project returns for financiers, solar developers & partners

Returns used to be measured in double digits and business plans lasted five years. Expected commitments have extended considerably, and returns for investors have fallen, witnessed most notably by the 3cent/kWh price awarded in May 2016 for Sheihk Mohamed Bin Rashid Solar Park’s 2nd phase.

Will this price point filter down to rooftop solar, or are headline-grabbing prices not sustainable? Affordable solar is the end goal, but profit margins are needed to attract talent. Has the solar industry’s business model changed forever, and if so, what are the new parameters? Could alternative capital structures improve margins? If solar’s financial “sweet spot” has shifted, to what part of the value chain?

Discussions will include energy service contracts, streamlined plant operations and maintenance, and potential new roles for utilities and government partners.

11:40 Pitching solar: Solar / Renewable project TBC requiring financial partnerships or straight funding

11:50 Financing solar projects with the support of public private partnerships & incentives

As solar projects shop for homes, what should they look for from municipalities in the way of incentives and partnerships? And why should municipalities court the solar industry? What are the benefits, besides the obvious energy creation and potential to be seen as environmentally responsible?

Some say that a strategic plan for energy projects is required, led by the public sector, to promote the projects and project financials. For example, Dubai set a regulatory framework to attract private investment and to make a job-creating green economy. The emirate also successfully deployed an independent power producer (IPP) market.

Dubai’s recent solar developments will be discussed, and how the public sector supports the further development of a renewables market regionally.

12:20 Preparing investor exits with alternative investment tools, exit contracts & secondary markets

To allure a greater number of investors, new models are required. One way is to support funds and bonds that focus on green projects, thereby allowing investors the flexibility to add or subtract items as it suits their portfolios.

Also important is the development of a secondary market for solar projects so that investors can turn over their risk to another, should their investment priorities change. Right now, a local project requires a 25-year commitment. That’s tough for most investors to consider in a still evolving marketplace.

Regardless, contracts should be written with clear exit strategies for all parties. What should be included in such clauses? How would these clauses be written differently in the Middle East or in Africa, than they are now written in other markets?

Finally, if you have something that can be sold, who would buy it? Identifying potential secondary market participants may be vital, especially if the buyer is not local as well.

12:40 Networking tea & exhibition time

13:40 Funding qualifications: Financier TBC shares what makes a project bankable for them

13:55 Funding qualifications: Financier TBC shares what makes a project bankable for them

14:10 Pitching solar: Solar / Renewable project TBC requiring financial partnerships or straight funding

14:20 Solar testing and standardizing to support regional fundraising for bankable solar projects

What measurement and verification (M&V) protocols will we see going forward, and how might that affect the awarding of contracts, the financing of projects, and innovation of products? How much do standards affect the price of solar, and are they a continuous process evolving over time or something that becomes largely fixed, once established?

The creation of standards for the local, harsh climates, as well as local testing facilities could help the industry. Should Development Financing Institutions (DFIs) or Climate Finance Institutions (CFIs) drive standards for MEA, or should it be determined by other parties for the planning, construction and operational stages?

Warrantees are a mainstay of the industry, though deciphering them can be difficult. Who do existing warrantees really protect, and should they change going forward?

15:00 Networking tea

15:15 Manufacturing renewables in the GCC and potential benefits to the solar business cycle

Few solar firms manufacture product locally, but that’s changing as countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates lure manufacturers with strong infrastructure for global transit and low taxes. Adding an upstream element to the local solar value chain can support goals to innovate products locally. Are there other benefits and for whom?

Globally, many solar manufacturers are steeped in debt. Some analysts consider a round of consolidation among these manufacturers necessary. Meanwhile, China-made products are perhaps the cheapest in the world and can be very good quality. For all these reasons, is this the wrong time to be expanding the industry’s manufacturing base, and how would a large mergers and acquisitions trend affect local plants?

Regardless, there is the question how they can best compete globally. For companies considering launching plants in the greater region, there are staffing obligations specific to solar, ownership restrictions, and tax transparency (or lack thereof) to consider. What can African and Middle Eastern municipalities do to support this emerging base of manufacturers?

15:45 Pitching solar: Solar / Renewable project TBC requiring financial partnerships or straight funding

15:55 Pitching solar: Solar / Renewable project TBC requiring financial partnerships or straight funding

16:05 Close of The Solar Agenda 2017


This is a DRAFT agenda. The Solar Agenda takes place at Solar Middle East, which is collocated with Middle East Electricity. Attendance to the conference and the exhibitions is free of charge. For more information, to suggest speakers, or to brand your company at this event, please contact

Environmental Center for Arab Towns






CPD Certification