Costs, Intensive Sunlight, and Policies Lead to High Potential for MENA Solar Market

published: 2015-01-16 18:01 | editor: | category: Price Trend

The MENA region is widely recognized as a high potential solar market, and 2015’s first solar-related exhibition - World Future Energy Summit 2015 (WFES), will take place in Abu Dhabi on January 19. Lower costs for large-scale solar installations, strong solar irradiation and national supports are all the factors for MENA to develop solar power.

The Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA) states that the cumulative solar installation in the Middle East in 2014 has grown rapidly. The growth was mainly triggered by the lower construction costs for large-scale PV plants, which decreased from USD$7.0/w in 2008 to USD$1.5/w in 2014. In 2013, only four large PV plants with capacity higher than 10 MW were constructed. On the contrary, there are 40 PV power plants to be constructed in 2015, 10 times more than in 2013.

Aside from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), more than 10 MENA nations, including Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Qatar, would start to install solar PV systems. Most of these nations have launched solar generation plans starting from 2015 and Saudi Arabia is the most ambitious one among all. It plans to install 6GW of solar PV systems over the next 10 years, turning it into the largest market in the region.

The sandy desert surrounding the MENA region means intensive solar irradiation and much longer hours of solar power generation than mainstream markets like Europe and USA. Nonetheless, solar panels installed in such environment could be easily abraded. The frequent damage caused by the natural environment therefore indicates a higher requirement for solar products’ qualities. Currently, most PV projects in the MENA region are submitted and constructed by large Chinese or Korean EPC companies as there is no local solar supply chain. It is crucial to integrate the whole production lines as well as send specialists to supervise the construction for MENA market development.

This Week’s Spot Price

Polysilicon prices slightly dropped 1.52% to USD$19.5/kg. The Chinese markets’ demand was not as strong as expected, so multi-si wafer price quotes decreased. The average spot price of high-efficiency multi-si wafer declined to USD$0.89/piece, while the mono-si wafer’s price continued drop due to the weak demand, reaching USD$1.135/piece.

In terms of solar cell price quotes this week, demands from the Chinese markets remained flat so cell orders significantly dropped, causing multi-si cell prices to drop to USD$0.315/W. In contrary, PV module price quotes kept declining and the situation is expected to continue until the Chinese New Year.

(Photo Credit: Commons Wikimedia)

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