The solar pipeline in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has primarily been driven by South Africa and Israel, however, NPD Solarbuzz believes that that trend is set to change as numerous countries throughout the region begin pushing forward on their own projects. According to the NPD Solarbuzz Middle East and Africa Deal Tracker, the current batch of projects in the African solar pipeline have a total potential capacity of more than 11 GW, and projects in the Middle East could reach at least 1.3 GW.
“Until now, PV market growth in the MEA region has been mainly driven by a small number of economically prosperous countries, in particular South Africa and Israel,” said Susanne von Aichberger, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “These two countries, and Saudi Arabia, are expected to offer stable demand levels within the MEA region over the next few years. The capacity share of the remaining MEA region is projected to increase; however, the increase depends on relatively few, but very large, projects.”
Completed and Pipeline PV Project Completion Rates Across the Middle East and Africa
The NPD Solarbuzz Middle East and Africa Deal Tracker tracks completed and in-progress solar projects in 29 African and 7 Middle Eastern countries.
Much has been made of the MEA region as the next big growth market for renewable energies such as solar PV, given the economic and environmental benefits of renewable energy. These figures bear this fact out, as does a paragraph from the NPD Solarbuzz press release:
Projects of 50 MW or above were recently announced in Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, with the largest pipelines in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Outside of South Africa, multi-megawatt projects have been completed in Benin, Cap Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, and Uganda.
“The fundamental market driver in Africa remains the basic need for energy, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. However, demand is also being driven by project developers that are seeking new overseas markets to compensate for the downturn in PV projects across mainland Europe,” von Aichberger noted. “Growth constraints for PV across Africa include weak energy infrastructure, corruption, and political and social instability.”
While these figures are impressive and pleasing to see, we have known that the MEA region would be a dominant figure in years to come for a while now. Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index saw Kenya and South Africa rise up the Index thanks to firm policy and strong deployment in these countries. And in August, Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecast Sub-Saharan Africa to see more renewable energy come online in 2014 than has been brought online in the previous 14 years.
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