First Solar focuses on Middle East market with key appointment

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Greentech Lead Asia: First Solar, the leading solar PV manufacturer in America, has appointed Raed Bkayrat as vice president of Business Development for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, Ahmed S. Nada, VP of Business Development for the Middle East, will also oversee the company’s commercial growth in North Africa.

These developments are part of First Solar’s strategy to expand in the Middle East.

Bkayrat and Nada will report to Christopher Burghardt, VP of Business Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Middle East is an emerging solar market in Asia. Despite the fact that Middle East is oil rich, many countries in the region are keen to develop solar energy to meet domestic needs.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Oman have each declared their plans to produce at least 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2020.

The Sultanate of Oman has been ranked high in the Renewable Energy Readiness Index with 5.2 points out of a total of seven followed by UAE and Saudi Arabia with a score of 4.7 and 4.55 respectively.

In the renewable resources category, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain have received renewable-readiness scores of 5.6, 5.5 and 5.3 respectively.

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“Our decision to expand our business development team is a reflection of the tremendous potential that we see in the region,” Burghardt said. “Both Ahmed and Raed bring extensive experience to their roles and there is no doubt in my mind that, together, they will successfully lead efforts to grow our presence across the Middle East and North Africa.”

With over 15 years of experience, Bkayrat joins First Solar from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), where he was responsible for establishing the institution’s successful Industry Collaboration Program (KICP).

Ahmed joined First Solar from General Electric in January 2013 and was tasked with leading the company’s business development efforts across the Middle East, excluding Saudi Arabia. As VP of Business Development for the MENA region, he will now also be responsible for a number of fast-growing markets, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, in addition to his existing remit.

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