First Solar joined Dii as a new shareholder in March 2013. The company was previously a Dii associated partner. “Our extended dedication to Dii as a shareholder emphasizes First Solar’s commitment to the MENA region, where we see tremendous potential to build a sustainable market for solar power. Dii is the ideal industrial initiative to bring power from the deserts into reality,” said Christopher Burghardt, First Solar’s Vice President of Business Development for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “I am very proud that First Solar decided to increase its commitment to our initiative. With the largest solar project pipeline of nearly 3 gigawatt contracted worldwide, First Solar has an extraordinary know how for the implementation of the Desertec vision in the MENA region. This fits very well with the rapidly increasing interest of countries in MENA to expand renewable energy capacity and grid infrastructure connecting the emerging MENA market to Europe,” said Paul van Son, CEO of Dii. MENA project pipeline First Solar is pursuing a wide range of opportunities to support the MENA region’s efforts to cultivate its considerable solar resources. The company recently established an office in Dubai and is in an advanced stage of opening an office in Saudi Arabia. First Solar is constructing a 13 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant for Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) in Seih Al Dahal, approximately 50 kilometers south of Dubai. This is the first phase of the landmark Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, an AED 12 billion project that is expected to eventually cover 48 square kilometers and produce 1,000MW of clean energy for the UAE’s national grid using both PV and solar thermal technology. The company also constructed a 5 MW solar PV system for the Masdar Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and donated a complete 3.2 kWp photovoltaic system to the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) New Energy Oasis (NEO) program in Saudi Arabia.