Middle East and Africa pipeline swells to 12GW: Solarbuzz

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The Middle East and Africa (MEA) PV market now has a 12GW pipeline, according to the latest data from NPD Solarbuzz.

The market research firm tracks projects in seven countries in the Middle East and 29 in Africa. The African pipeline has now reach 11GW while the Middle East is sitting on 1.3GW of potential capacity.

“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, 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.”

The Middle East in particular has suffered a number of solar false starts with progress in Saudi Arabia often touted, but yet to deliver significant projects.

Solarbuzz now expects this to change.

Of the 12.3GW pipeline, 95% is to be ground-mounted.

“Economy of scale tends to raise the attractiveness of large projects, but the large size of ground-mount solar parks also increases risk, particularly in countries with previously little or no existing PV markets,” said von Aichberger.

“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.”

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