MENA’s solar capacity to rise drastically by 2023 despite COVID-19 impact: MESIA

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The total installed solar capacity in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to reach up to almost 35 gigawatts (GW) by 2024 despite the impact of COVID-19, according to the Solar Outlook 2021 report.

The annual report, released by the UAE-based Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), said more projects are expected to be integrated into the grid over the next three years thanks to the continuous decrease of solar prices and the ambitious clean energy targets set by the MENA countries.

The report estimated the installed capacity for 2020 to touch 15 GW. Last year, projects in the construction stage totaled 2.7 GW, spread across Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman and the UAE.

The report also listed a total of 42 upcoming projects in various stages, from planning to award with a total capacity of 24.8 GW. Nearly 44 percent of the capacity is in the planning stage while 16.8 percent is in the tendering stage.

The report also noted that integrated storage projects are part of the growth story as battery storage and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) are expected to help mitigate the intermittency risk.

“Globally – including in the MENA region – a decrease in battery prices are creating a business case for the future of energy storage. By 2024, energy storage installed in the region could reach up to 19 GW,” the report noted.

In the long run, prices of batteries will continue to decrease and beyond batteries and CSP, hydrogen may bring adequate and competitive storage solutions in the coming years, the report said.