Total is bucking mainstream oil industry thinking on solar energy and unlike most of its peers Total is making a large-scale investment commitment to it. The Middle East, where GCC governments alone have announced more than 41gw of solar projects, will be a key testing ground for the French major’s renewables strategy.

Total’s solar bet carries risks – the solar industry is currently losing money and most see Chinese manufacturers as gearing up to dominate the industry through economies of scale. Even they are feeling the heat – Wuxi Suntech, the main subsidiary of what was until recently the world’s largest producer of solar panels, Suntech Holdings, filed for bankruptcy in March. (CONTINUED - 865 WORDS)