MEA Solar Installations To Surge By 15% In 2024, Says Report

Solar photovoltaic- PV installations in the Middle East and Africa- MEA region are projected to rise by 15% in 2024, adding up to 17.1 gigawatts- GW, according to a recent report by SolarPower Europe, an industry association based in Belgium.

The report titled- SolarPower Europe-2024: Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028 highlights the MEA region’s significant 78% annual growth in 2023, adding 14.8 GW of solar energy, surpassing the 2022 record of 8.3 GW of installed capacity.

The increase in installations in 2023 resulted in a stable market share for MEA of 3%, and this trend is expected to continue this year, the report states.

Globally, 447 GW of new solar PV capacity was deployed in 2023, marking an 87% increase from 2022’s 239 GW. The cumulative global installed capacity reached 1,624 GW by the end of 2023, a 38% rise from the previous year’s 1,177 GW, which had seen a 26% growth.

Although MEA saw a 45% growth with a cumulative installed PV capacity of 48.1 GW, it remains the world’s smallest solar region, maintaining an overall market share of 3%.

In 2023, MEA accounted for three of the 31 GW-scale solar markets, defined as countries installing at least 1 GW. South Africa led with 3.2 GW, a 142% growth rate fueled by private utility-scale solar projects and increased demand for residential power systems and battery storage due to energy security concerns.

The UAE re-entered the GW territory for the first time since 2019, installing 3.1 GW mainly due to the completion of the 2 GW Al Dhafra solar power project in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia also joined the GW market for the first time, connecting 1.9 GW to the grid, largely from the initial phase of the 1.5 GW Sudair Solar Project.

For 2024, only South Africa and Saudi Arabia are expected to maintain their positions in the GW-scale global market. South Africa is forecasted to remain the top contributor in MEA, adding more than a fifth of the region’s installed capacity to reach 3.5 GW. Saudi Arabia is expected to add 1.5 GW, marking a 20% decline after growing 400% in 2023.

The report notes that the UAE is unlikely to feature in the GW-scale market in 2024, projected to account for only 5% (0.8 GW) of MEA’s installed capacity compared to 21%- 3.1 GW in 2023, due to the absence of large photovoltaic power plant projects connecting to the grid this year.

Despite this, many smaller markets in the region, with favorable irradiation conditions, are increasingly recognizing the cost advantages, commercial opportunities, and energy security potential of solar energy, leading to a rise in solar activities across the area, the report concludes.