Siemens and Desert Technologies have launched a joint venture to develop and invest in solar and smart infrastructure in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as announced at Expo 2020 Dubai. The venture, Capton Energy – which aims to build up a portfolio of investments in projects with an aggregate capacity of more than 1 gigawatts (GW) – will support projects providing clean, reliable, and affordable energy in areas that need it most.
Capton Energy (“Capton”) has its headquarters in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and is led by Umer Ahmad, who joined as chief executive and chief investment officer in January 2022. Ahmad is a well-known expert in the energy and infrastructure financing industry, bringing more than 21 years’ experience as an equity investor, lender and advisor in developed and emerging markets, having led businesses and teams in a number of high-profile organizations, such as Barclays, Deloitte, SNC-Lavalin and Equitix.
Siemens, through its financing arm Siemens Financial Services (SFS), and Saudi Arabia-based Desert Technologies are joint shareholders in Capton. The company will primarily target investments in existing and greenfield solar power projects typically in a range of 20 to 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation capacity. Capton will benefit from the partners’ ability to supply technology and expertise to facilitate the development of new solar facilities. The platform will also offer third party investors the opportunity to participate in the energy transition journey.
“Solar power plays a critical part in the global energy transition,” said Steffen Grosse, head of Equity Finance for SFS. “The launch of Capton sets the stage to help drive the expansion of more sustainable and flexible energy systems across the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia and we’re looking forward to jointly building this platform alongside Desert Technologies.”
Desert Technologies is a solar PV and smart infrastructure holding company, focused on manufacturing and sustainable investments. Based in Jeddah, the company has completed more than 40 solar projects in 22 countries.
“Solar power enables places without reliable energy networks to leapfrog the legacy infrastructure common in developed nations and benefit from sustainable, clean and affordable power,” said Nour Mousa, the founder of Desert Technologies. “We are eager to work with Capton and Siemens to back projects and drive positive change in line with our ESG ideals. Such efforts to fully optimize the potential of the sun and technologies such as sustainable mini-grids and smart distributed energy systems will anchor our ideals and embody positive impact.”
“Smart infrastructure powered by the sun are the key to sustainable development”, said Khaled Sharbatly, Group Chief Investment Officer of Desert Technologies and Capton’s Board Member. “Based on the integration of renewables, storage and digital technologies, they have the potential to change for good every aspect of our life, acting as enablers of new social and economic paradigms, from energy equality to clean transportation and electric mobility”.
Demand for solar energy is surging in the Middle East, Africa and Asian nations with abundant sunshine. In the Middle East alone, total installed capacity for solar power generation more than quadrupled from 2016 to 2020, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency in Abu Dhabi.
Efforts to bring sustainable electricity supplies to rural areas through the use of off-grid and battery storage systems are helping to spur this growth, as more countries shift away from fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.
“Capton Energy is already advanced in assembling a pipeline of solar-themed investments and is in progressive discussions to launch the inaugural fund raising,” said Umer Ahmad, CEO and CIO of Capton Energy. “With Siemens and Desert Technologies as strategic partners, and the exceptional team we are bringing together within Capton, we are confident that we have the complete toolkit to bring an optimum blend of development, investment and technological capabilities, so we can meet the growing needs for solar energy in our target markets.”