South Africa and Israel to Drive Solar Photovoltaic Demand in 2013; Saudi Arabia to Become Leader by 2017.
New solar photovoltaic (PV) demand from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is forecast to reach 1 gigawatt (GW) in 2013, based on findings from the new NPD Solarbuzz Middle East and Africa PV Market Report.
This represents an increase of 625% Y/Y from 136 MW in 2012.
“Historically, the MEA region lagged behind global PV markets but is starting to catch up,” said Susanne von Aichberger, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “By 2017, the region is forecast to account for 3.7 GW of annual PV demand, with the potential to reach up to 9 GW.”
Although the MEA region benefits from very high solar insolation levels, existing PV deployment has been confined mainly to development projects. In fact, the MEA region accounted for just 0.5% of global PV demand in 2012, despite comprising 17% of the world’s population.
Recently, there has been a strong increase in PV applications across the MEA region following the introduction of ambitious funding schemes, most notably in South Africa, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. As a result, PV contributions from the MEA region are now poised for rapid growth, and the region is expected to account for 6% of global PV demand by 2017.
In the near term, South Africa is forecast to become the largest PV market within the MEA region, having completed the first two bidding rounds of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP) in 2012. Already, this program has created a PV project pipeline of 1 GW that will be installed by the end of 2014. Ultimately, this will result in 1.45 GW of new PV capacity.
Israel is expected to be the region’s second largest market in 2013, driven by quotas, tenders, and a newly implemented net-metering scheme. Collectively, Israel and South Africa are projected to account for more than 80% of all PV demand across the MEA region this year.
PV funding in Saudi Arabia is based on a renewable purchase program that targets a PV capacity of 16 GW by 2032. Saudi Arabia accounted for just 5% of total PV demand in the MEA region during 2013, but the country is forecast to become the region’s largest PV market by 2017.
Over the next five years, a greater number of countries across the MEA region will start to contribute to overall PV market, decreasing the share from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa to below 50%. By 2017, NPD Solarbuzz forecasts that ground-mount PV applications will account for over 70% of PV demand across the MEA region.