2016 was a record year for solar. A total of 76.6 GW was installed and connected to the grid in 2016. That’s a 50% year-on-year growth over the 51.2 GW installed in 2015 and the third highest rate recorded since 2010, though at much higher absolute levels. The 76.6 GW exactly coincides with the upper end of the high scenario forecasted in the previous Global Market Outlook, due to a number of markets exceeding expectations. In 2016, global solar power capacity exceeded 300 GW, after it took the 200 GW mark the year before, and the 100 GW level in 2012. The total installed solar PV power capacity increased 33% to 306.5 GW by the end of 2016, up from 229.9 GW in 2015.
With record low tariffs on Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) 800 MW Phase III project and Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority’s (ADWEA) Sweihan project, we could call it a successful year for large scale solar on the Arabian Peninsula. Record low tariffs below 3 US$ cents per kWh attracted worldwide press attention.
These low prices have changed the perception of policymakers and industry leaders. It even led to a downward revision of the Feed-in tariff in Egypt and revives the debate of the usefulness of Feed-in tariffs versus competitive bidding in the MENA region. On an unsubsidized basis, solar PV without storage is now one of the cheapest sources of electricity available – it costs less than unsubsidized nuclear, LNG, and diesel used for off-grid power. Based on IRENA’s projections, solar PV LCOEs are expected to continue to decrease going forward, but whether it will continue to drop as rapidly is subject to debate.
The world record tariffs provided solar with an important jump-start of more large scale solar projects in the MiddleEast in 2016 (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan) and will drive even more large-scale project announcements and executions in 2017 in other countries (e.g. Oman and Tunisia).
The report foreshadowed the inevitable economic and social challenges we see unfolding today in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s recently announced Vision 2030 and the NTP clearly outline ambitious renewable energy goals under the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative. In line with the goals of Vision 2030, SASIA will continue to bring the local and international industries together, transforming the vast solar potential of Saudi Arabia into a commercially viable solution for the region’s growing electricity demand.
Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic and the sixth most populous country in the world, with a present population of over 190 million. Recent economic developments in the country have been positive, with a GDP growth of 4.2 percent in FY 2015 compared to 4 percent in FY 2014 and a growth of 4.5 percent forecasted for 2016. The country has been facing a significant energy deficit in the past decade with power shortfalls of approx. 5 GW and load shedding across the country varying between 5 to 12 hours a day in rural areas that bear the main brunt of the load shedding.
The Government of Pakistan (GoP) has taken a considerable number of incentives in its energy strategy to overcome the energy deficit through the promotion of both large-scale grid-connected PV projects as well as smaller-scale projects. The introduction of the net metering scheme in September 2015 has been an encouraging sign. Further steps are being taken to reduce bureaucratic procedures and the processing of applications for issuance of net metering licenses. The GoP has also encouraged ‘large-scale’ grid-connected PV projects through the introduction of a feed-in tariff (FiT), increasing the interest of investors (Source BSW Solar)
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan represents a very promising market for photovoltaics. Located in the north of the Arabian Peninsula, with a yield of around 1,800 kWh per kWp per annum in many regions and more than 300 days of sunshine each year, PV has a strong potential for contributing to the national electricity mix.
In Jordan the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Law 13 (REEL) of 2012 as well as bylaws enable Independent Power Producers (IPP) to provide electricity from renewable sources to NEPCO within long-term Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Private investors may also invest in their own PV system up to 5 MWp to directly consume the electricity produced and offset it against their entire demand within a net-metering scheme. The REEL even allows the generation of electricity at a different site than where the actual consumer is located – so-called energy wheeling. As a result, there are two promising business cases that enable investments in PV: Direct Proposals for PPAs under consecutive rounds of “expressions of interest” and “net-metering”. (Source BSW Solar)
Tunisia is a rapidly expanding photovoltaic market in the MENA region. The country’s economic conditions are relatively favourable, while its natural solar exposure conditions are ideal for photovoltaics, enabling installations to produce more than 1,700 kWh/kWp annually. Regarding public support, the PROSOL thermal programme, introduced in 2005, promotes solar thermal system investments. The PROSOL ELEC programme, designed for photovoltaic installations, has been in existence since 2010. So far, this support mechanism has contributed to the installation of a total PV capacity of 6 MWp. (Source BSW Solar)