Investment by Masdar will focus on 'thin film' photovoltaic technology which is applied to building surfaces

Abu Dhabi has unveiled plans to invest $2bn in a solar energy project which would reduce the region’s reliance on oil.

Abu Dhabi buildings
Credit: aekpani

The $2bn (£1.02bn) investment by Masdar, the state-sponsored renewable energy fund, will focus on the production of photovoltaic technology known as “thin film”, which can be applied to the surface of buildings to generate power.

This technology is in short supply globally because of increasing demand from the solar power industry.

The project will involve spending $600m on the development of two manufacturing facilities: one in Erfurt, Germany which will be operational by autumn 2009, and a much bigger plant to be built in Abu Dhabi by the spring of 2010.

According to Deutsche Bank, the global photovoltaic market is worth $15bn and is growing at a rate of 40% a year. “Thin film” is expected to constitute 20% of the market by 2010.