Electric power generation is the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with most of our energy consumption relying on burning fossil fuels, primarily coal and natural gas. However, a noteworthy shift is on the horizon, with global investments in solar power expected to surpass those in oil in our region.
The MENA region is lucky with an abundant solar resource, basking in an average of 8-12 hours of daily sunshine coupled with low humidity levels in many parts. The Arab world is graced with an impressive global horizontal irradiation level, which is defined as the total solar radiation incident on a horizontal surface, averaging approximately 2230-2330 kilowatt-hours per square meter annually.
This vast solar energy potential offers our region a significant opportunity to tackle its mounting energy needs, diversify its energy sources, and ameliorate its power sector’s environmental and climate impact.
From windmills to solar panels, green energy is an alternative energy source that can replace fossil fuels. Over the past few years, resources are increasingly being poured into green energy development.
Green energy has been used by humans for years. The most common kind of renewable energy in the past was waterwheels -- a prototype of our current hydropower plant.
These are 10 Arab startups that are working to make our world greener.
Yellow Door Energy uses a hybrid energy generation system composed of several sources of energy: Solar PV, wind turbines, diesel or gas generators, and energy storage. Hybrid systems can range from small independent solutions to large complex multi-megawatt systems powering large factories. Hybrid power can be both on-grid or off-grid.
Yellow Door addresses load-shedding issues by improving power reliability, power quality, and energy security. The result is 24/7 uninterrupted power supply access, improvement of energy security, reduced reliance on fossil fuels and exposure to price volatility, and a reduced carbon footprint.
KarmSolar, founded by Ahmed Zahran in 2011, is a leading renewable energy solutions provider in Egypt. The company’s mission is to deliver sustainable energy solutions to Egyptian businesses and communities. In 2012, KarmSolar introduced solar-powered water pumping to the Bahariya Oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert and soon secured their first contract with Fridal to construct 33 solar wells.
In 2015, KarmSolar became the first Egyptian company to obtain an Independent Power Producer (IPP) license, allowing them to sell electricity from off-grid solar stations. 
In 2021, KarmSolar expanded its services with its subsidiary company KarmWater, specializing in solar-powered water desalination and storage.
Digital Petroleum is a Saudi digital solutions company that aims to improve efficiency and sustainability by digitalizing decision-making processes in the oil, mining, water, and power industries using AI.
Its digital applications are able to integrate real-time data and advanced analytics for better decision-making and underpin applications that can dramatically improve efficiency, and sustainability and proactively respond to new regulations.
Digital Petroleum saves energy by reducing carbon emissions, water consumption, and unplanned downtime costs by improving efficiency in high emissions processes using predictive maintenance, water, and operations optimization solutions.
Additionally, the company provides an energy management system for the facility where their chargers are installed, allowing for efficient monitoring and control of charging station performance.
Established in 2015, AgriSolar Solutions initially focused on solar pumping systems and has since been dedicated to delivering solutions that enhance the utilization of solar energy. This includes on-grid systems that are connected to the local grid; off-grid systems, which are self-sustaining; and hybrid solutions.
AgriSolar’s vision is to play a pivotal role in addressing energy challenges, particularly within the agricultural sector in Egypt and the Middle East.
BioFire collects and transforms agro-forestry waste into solid biofuels, such as wood briquettes, eco-friendly coal, and biochar, that are efficient, cheap, and can be used for cooking and heating. BioFire aims to give people access to more affordable energy solutions and save forests that continue to dwindle due to inefficient use of wood fuel.
DARBCO was founded in 2017 with the aim of developing automated solar panel cleaning solutions.
DARBCO's automated system provides an efficient and reliable cleaning solution that is adapted to deserts and dusty regions. It decreases the amount of time and water required to clean solar panels without causing scratches or micro-cracks.
Kumulus utilizes solar power to create drinking water from humidity in the air.
The company's main product is Kumulus-1, an Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG) that produces 20 to 30 liters of healthy drinking water daily -- a process that can be monitored with Kumulus' dashboard and app. The Kumulus-1 can fit in a 1m3 cube and can be equipped with a solar power pack, making it fully autonomous and independent.
Shamsina, which operates out of a workshop in Cairo’s Al Darb Al Ahmar, creates solar-powered water heaters for energy-deprived communities. Shamsina is a community organization that utilizes local design, sources raw materials from small-scale local enterprises, trains and employs community members, promotes local and worldwide environmental awareness, and offers energy services to the community. Shamsina, which was founded in 2014, is a member of the World Alliance.
CORRECTION: This article was edited and shortened on 28 November 2023. It was retitled "Eight Arab Renewable Energy Startups for a Greener MENA" instead of "Ten Arab Renewable Energy Startups for a Greener MENA." The previous version of this article included Hydro Wind Energy and Smart Energy Solutions.