The local Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Adfec) is to set up a company to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) or solar panels to serve the emirate. It would be one of the first local companies in the oil-rich Gulf region to produce materials needed for solar power generation.

Under its Masdar initiative, Adfec has signed a partnership agreement with Germany’s Conergy for the long-term development of commercial solar power in Abu Dhabi and the wider region. Under the memorandum of understanding signed between the two companies, Conergy will advise on the technology required to produce PV panels. The firm may also set up an office in the Gulf.

‘Although our engineers have been present in the region for a number of years, we do not yet have a base in the region,’ says Thorsten Vespermann, a spokesman for Conergy. ‘There are plans to set one up in the near future but we have not yet decided on the specific location.’

Adfec has a two-year plan to become a main producer and supplier of PV panels in the emirate and the region. It is also aiming for up to 40 MW of power capacity to come from solar power, enough to supply up to 10,000 homes.

Sources at Masdar say that under the joint venture partnership, Masdar will manufacture its own PV wafers and panels. As part of the plan, Masdar is also planning to build a world-scale factory in Abu Dhabi producing polysilicon, a material used in the manufacture of PV cells.

The $250 million Masdar clean-tech fund, launched in 2006, has already invested in Germany’s Sulfurcel, another PV firm.