A report on the Solar Outlook in the 2018 MENA region prepared by the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) through its prominent member companies has just been published.  Its conclusion is excerpted for good measure here below in its entirety.

After all prevailing solar trends in 2018 introduced, a review of the main solar projects with an emphasis on certain large-scale PV projects was carried out. The MENA countries leading solar PV markets were assessed with the respective government’s shifting priorities brought to light.

Rooftop solar projects, energy storage and all technological advances be they, digitalisation of solar hardware and of course the electric car were reviewed and with a case study of the UAE proposed. In any case, it looks as if 2018 in the MENA region would be expected to be the year for a massive roll-out of solar energy.

In the meantime, the MENA’s solar capacity on the ground is as at early 2018, 1.36 GW, led by Jordan with 467 MW, Algeria with 353 MW and the UAE with 323 MW.

In our view, all MENA region’s governments should on top of what is described in this report adopt a common Energy Strategy to manage the change of their respective energy systems whilst trying to make them as sustainable, secure and above all as competitive as they could.


The MESIA’s report conclusion is:

2018 announces itself as the year for massive roll-out of solar energy in the MENA region. Saudi Arabia and UAE will continue leading the industry in the GCC, with expected tenders for more than 3 GW of solar PV in Saudi Arabia, more than 1.5 GW of solar PV in the UAE, and 1 CSP project to reach financial close in Dubai in the course of 2018. We will see more large-scale projects popping up across the entire MENA region (e.g. Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar). Large-scale solar remains pretty much on-track.

As far as rooftop solar is concerned, there is still some work to be done on the regulatory side in most markets. Most notably, for rooftop solar to take substantial market share, we will need to see government regulators do their part and adopt policies that promote solar energy, e.g. through net-metering schemes. Regional financiers and bankers need to be further educated on innovative and sustainable ways of financing rooftop solar. The first steps are taken, but more work remains to be done.

Just like in 2017, we expect to see further adoption of storage solutions (e.g. batteries, pumped hydro, etc.) across the Middle East. Storage and demand-response solutions provide additional flexibility to the transmission system and curb peak load.

2018 will be a record year for solar and its associated technologies in MENA through:

  •    A high number of tenders announced for large scale solar;
  •    Plenty of opportunities for distributed solar in the C&I and rooftop solar segment;
  •    Further adoption of EVs and green mobility;
  •    First of a kind opportunities for storage using different storage technologies; and
  •    Potential new regulatory frameworks for wheeling and energy management.

We are confident there will be plenty of opportunities for all of our MESIA members and look forward to reporting to you on our collective success in the 2019 edition of MESIA’s Solar Outlook Report

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