According to a recent report published by GTM Reserach the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will be installing nearly 3.5 GW of solar capacity by 2015.
The study was conducted in collaboration with the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA). The study also forecasts that the solar market in the MENA region could represent 8% of total demand globally by 2015.
The GTM Research report states that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are expected to have the highest demand, with 70% of the total MENA demand by 2015. Saudi Arabia is expected to be the region’s first gigawatt-scale market by the end of 2015. The report forecasts Turkey to be the second strongest market in the region in 2015 and beyond, due to its favourable renewable energy policies, and its prior wind projects installation experience is expected to translate into greater solar demand.
The study predicts that the overall regional outlook calls for more than 10 GW of solar power demand through 2017, but the majority of this demand is expected to come by 2015.
“In terms of solar energy, it is clear that the MENA region is set to experience significant change over the next five years,” said Scott Burger, GTM Research analyst and the report’s author. “While Saudi Arabia will likely be the largest market in the long-term, there will be significant opportunities throughout the region. With strategic planning and a solid development of local partners and supply chains, savvy companies will be able to capitalize on all of the opportunities in the region.”
Drivers For Renewable Energy In MENA Region
For oil-producing nations in the MENA region, renewable energy can substitute domestically for subsidised oil-generated electricity and thus help in freeing oil for export at higher prices.
Renewable energy can play a significant role in the diversity of the energy supply backed up by the vast renewable energy sources in some countries. There is also a need for greater regional security of supply in terms of interconnection and utilisation of renewable electricity from strong resource areas across the region.
GTM Research states in its report that the MENA region is set to experience significant change over the next five years and attractive investment opportunities will arise in the region.
Renewable Energy Plans In MENA Region
Several countries have announced ambitious plans for deployment of renewable energy infrastructure in the MENA region.
Qatar has announced plans to install 1.8 GW of PV capacity by 2014 and Dubai aims to source 5% of its power supply from solar by 2030. Abu Dhabi will soon commission Shams-1, a 100MW concentrating solar power plant (our Site-Director took a tour of the Shams-1 which is also the world’s largest single-unit solar power plant).
Saudi Arabia has also announced a renewable energy strategy that will include 16 GW of solar power facilities and 25 GW of concentrating solar power facilities by 2030. Additionally, there is the massive DESERTEC project backed by EU being planned in the MENA region.
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only