In the majestic theatre of Dubai skyline on the terrace at the Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) unveiled the winners of the 2014 Middle East Solar Awards during a gala ceremony on December 1, 2014
In total, there were twelve trophies that were being contested across several sectors. The awards selection was conducted by an independent panel of 7 judges from around the world and chaired by Abdul Aziz Abdulla Al Midfa, MESIA chairman. Alice Cowman (CEO of Clean Energy Business Council) was part of the jury along with Taher Diab ( Director Strategy and Planning - Dubai Supreme Council of Energy), Bellen Gallego (Founder of CSP Today), Jason O'connel (Editor at Utilities Middle East), Reza Sheybani (Chairman of the British Photovoltaic Association), Frank Wouters (CEO of Wouters LDT and former deputy Director General of IRENA) and Daniel Zyweitz (CEO and Founder of Enerwhere).
"MESIA turned 5 years on November 24 this year and we are now the largest solar association in the MENA region, recognized and respected for its independent expertise. As an avidence MESIA was awarded by DEWA for its contribution in advancing solar power in the UAE. The Association was also awarded at the World Green Economy Summit" said Abdulaziz Al Midfa, the Chairman of MESIA and Chairman of the jury.
The winners of the 2014 Middle East Solar Awards are:
The Woman of the Year accolade went to Michelle T. Davies, Head of the Clean Energy and Sustainability Group at Eversheds LLP. Mrs. Davies won the award on the back of her active involvement in supporting governments in the UAE, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on forming solar policy and regulation.
The Media Personality of the Year award went to Robin Mills, the author of The Myth of the Oil Crisis and Capturing Carbon. Mr. Mills is also an outspoken and well-respected columnist at The National newspaper, with over 9,000 followers on Twitter.
The Legal Advisor of the Year went to Eversheds, an early and active supporter of the Middle Eastern solar industry. They are currently advising on several solar mandates across the region. Eversheds is advising on 8 out of the 10 solar projects in Jordan Round I. Eversheds has also advised on over 15 solar equity investments in the Middle East.
One of the most hotly contested awards was Project of the Year. It went to Enerwhere. The young Dubai-based company has been busily developing a number of solar hybrid power solutions to commercial and industrial clients in the Middle East and Africa on a rental and PPA basis.
The Regional Company of the Year went to Access. This UAE based company has become the largest fully privately-owned developer dedicated to developing sustainable energy projects in Africa. Access has won high profile solar mandates across the region and has partnered with some of the world's leading solar companies.
Another big winner was Egypt. The country's Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency (ERA) won the Policymaker of the Year Award. The trophy went to Prof. Hafez El-Salmawy, Managing Director. Dr. El Salmawy is widely recognized as the "Godfather of Egypt's solar FIT regime."
Egypt was also proudly represented by Lamyaa Abdel Hady, Director of Solar FIT Program, Ministry of Electricity. She won Solar Initiative of the year. Her role has been critical in the Ministry's recent announcement of the solar/wind FIT program. Her impact is clear: a 2,300MW solar FIT program, the largest of its kind in the MENA region
Jordan was also very well represented by NEPCO, who scooped up the Utility Company of Year. The organization support and guide the ambitious renewable energy target of 7% renewable energy in the primary energy mix by 2015 and 10% by 2020 in the country. These targets have been broken down by technologies: 600-1200MW wind; 300-600MW solar; and 30-50MW waste-to-energy.
The Commercial Advisor of the Year went to IFC (International Finance Corporation). In 2014, the IFC signed financing packages worth $207.5 million to collectively fund the construction of seven of the twelve first round solar PV power parks totalling 102 MWdc/91MWac across Jordan.
The Technology of the Year award went to NOMADD. The company developed Desert Solar Solution specifically designed to meet the biggest challenge facing the solar industry: Dust on panels. It meets all the key criteria for the job, including being waterless, fully automated, cost effective and reliable.
Finally, the Solar Conference of The Year recognized MENASOL for its 2014 conference with over 50 presentations featuring market data, plant performance, costings and construction tips, delegates take away recordings that will have a real impact on their business operations.
This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award was very special as MESIA community wanted to thanks, of posthumous way, Mr Jit Chakravarty for his dedication to the Solar Industry. Jit was a passionate solar engineer and solar pioneer in UAE. He has been recognized with with the "Innovation of the year" award in MEE for solar pumping. He also containerized Solar plant for Umm Al Zmool – 100kW off grid (largest UAE off grid site).
"This ceremony is a reflection of the growing scale and significance of the solar industry in the Middle East," said Vahid Fotuhi, President of MESIA. "The winners range from 5 different countries, a record-high for MESIA. They also include both very large and quite small companies. And we have a record number of female winners this year. The future for this region is looking very bright," he added.
This annual gala ceremony, organized by MESIA was taking place in conjunction with the 3rd Annual MENA Clean Energy Forum hosted by the Clean Energy Business Council. The ceremony, was attended by over 200 dignitaries, government officials and senior business executives from across the Middle East.
MESIA is the largest solar trade association in the MENA region. For more information, visit www.mesia.com.