According to the latest report from NPD Solarbuzz the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is expected to generate 1GW of PV demand in 2013, a 625% increase from 2012 when installations totalled only 136MW.
The new NPD Solarbuzz ‘Middle East and Africa PV Market Report’ highlighted that the expected strong demand was due to the introduction of ambitious funding schemes, most notably in South Africa, Israel, and Saudi Arabia that are set to kick-start and longer-term period of PV demand growth in the region.
The MEA region was said to have only accounted for 0.5% of global PV demand in 2012, yet had 17% of the world’s population located in the region.
“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 3.7GW of annual PV demand, with the potential to reach up to 9GW.”
NPD Solarbuzz said that having completed the first two bidding rounds of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Program (REIPPP) in 2012, South Africa was forecasted to become the largest PV market within the MEA region.
REIPPP had generated a 1GW PV project pipeline through to the end of 2014, culminating in an expected 1.45GW of new PV capacity.
However, the biggest market is expected to be Saudi Arabia, due to its renewable purchase program that targets a PV capacity of 16GW by 2032. The market research firm said that Saudi Arabia is expected to account for just 5% of total PV demand in the MEA region during 2013, but become the region’s largest PV market by 2017.
As with other regions, NPD Solarbuzz expects other countries in the MEA region to build PV demand, lessening the dependency on only a few countries. The firm expects a decreasing share from Israel, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa to below 50%.
The firm also forecasted that ground-mounted applications would account for over 70% of PV demand across the MEA region by 2017.