Empowering the Middle East with Solar Solutions: An Interview with Neil Anthony Doe, Founder and CEO of Qi-Energy

Neil Anthony Doe, Founder & CEO, Qi-Energy

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how your journey has been with Qi-Energy so far?

  • We established the business at the end of 2018, it had been part of the plan since His Highness Sheikh Mohammed launched the Dubai green energy strategy in 2015 but it took some time for the strategy to gain traction. 2019 was our first real year of trading but just as we got going COVID-19 hit which was a tough time. While the world struggled with the challenges of COVID it did have a dramatic impact on our business in so much that it demonstrated the value of local content. Subsequent events such as the SUEZ blockage and more recently the war in Ukraine have demonstrated to the world that while China may be the cheapest source, it’s actually a real issue if the supply chain is disrupted due to global events. As a structures supplier our equipment is mission critical as you can’t fit modules without it so we spent most of 2020 and 2021 regionalising as much of what we do as we could. We are now largely unaffected by events outside of the GCC as all of our supply chain and manufacturing is now here, we have even gone a step further to develop our ICV goals by cutting dies for fast moving products in growth markets such as Saudi Arabia. All in all its been a roller coaster of a journey but we are moving in the right direction. 
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2. Could you brief us about the Products / Services you provide in the Middle East?

  • Whilst we are based in Dubai very little of what we do is in the UAE. The UAE is still a largely untapped market with only one of the seven emirates having a solidified solar framework so we hope to be busier on home soil in the future. In a nut shell every solar panel solar anywhere in the world has a structural faming system that holds it in place. These systems are generally manufactured from steel or aluminium extrusion and these are the products we provide. Qi-Energy is an OEM solar framing business, all of our systems are designed from the ground up by our team and manufactured right here in the UAE. We provide systems for ground and roof mount applications for projects as small as a few Kw up to MW scale.

3. Could you please specify the Middle East markets you are focusing on or targeting?

  • Right now, our focus is on Saudi Arabia. I was involved with the K.A.CARE initiative in 2013 under the rule of his Highness King Abdullah so I am fully aware of the potential of the market. We have also been developing the Oman and Lebanon markets and delivered a number of projects in Africa. Kuwait is also starting to wake up now and with luck the rest of the Emirates will follow what Dubai has done in the not too distant future. In terms of opportunity though the real volumes in the next 3-5 years will be driven by Saudi Arabia.
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4. Please tell us about how you are planning for further growth and expansion and what are the milestones you are aiming at in 2024?

  • 2024 for us will be a real growth year, we are planning to expand the manufacturing capability with some new investment in staff and tooling in the first quarter. By the middle of the year we hope to be in a new facility which will give us much greater production capacity, we currently have a round 100MW per year capacity but this is limited by space, this will increase to around 500MW by the end of next year. Aside from local markets we are also growing our partner framework overseas. We already have distributors in Europe and plan to expand this to the US by the end of the year.

5. Anything else that you would like to highlight?

  • The next 5-10 years will see phenomenal growth in this region, outside of the US, the Middle East and Africa are the largest frontier markets for what we do. Recent events have demonstrated the power of local content and we are excited for this to continue to grow. With re powering across Europe now and the fragility of the supply chain, the value placed upon framing systems has become greater. Qi-Energy was the first OEM solar framing business in the Middle East, we are committed to supporting the regional growth of renewable technologies and excited for what the next decade will bring.

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