Of all the places in the world for solar to work well, the U.A.E would come to mind. Gulf states have very little rain fall, uninhabited tracks of land, modern infrastructure and plenty of cash.
Dubai, the most well-known of the Emirates, has a "green" building code and is pushing ahead with environmentally friendly buildings.
However..., in a recent article in Arabianbusiness.com, Nakheel, the Dubai real estate development company found, "The use of solar power in construction is not economically justifiable right now..."
It turns out that the costs to store solar energy are just too expensive. Additionally, the technology is still too novel to make it profitable. From the article, ""We had a case recently where I wanted solar panels to be used in one of our projects, but after looking into it we discovered that this would have added US $3 million (AED11 million) to our project costs," he said. From a business perspective, we can't justify using solar power right now."
While I think or would have thought that solar would be a no-brainer for Dubai, it just isn't. Additionally, the technology won't make it economically efficient for some time. What bothers me more, however, is the following quote: "People are realising that economics isn't going to be the only driving force for green technology," he said. "The focus on sustainability will actually drive this market."
So, we are to substitute a nebulous concept known as "sustainability" for a known metric, economic efficiency. If anything makes people not buy in to the environmental agenda is that it just doesn't make sense. You may feel good about it, but it hurts you in the pocket. Yikes.