Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are expected to grow by 15 percent in 2024 with the addition of 17.1 gigawatts (GW), a new report by Belgium-based solar PV industry association SolarPower Europe said.

The report ‘SolarPower Europe (2024): Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028,’ noted that the MEA region experienced significant annual growth of 78 percent in 2023, adding 14.8 GW of solar and breaking the previous record set in 2022, when 8.3GW of capacity was installed.

“The increase in installations in 2023 resulted in a stable market share for the MEA at 3 percent (and) the situation is expected to be similar this year,” the report said.

The world deployed 447 GW of new solar PV capacity in 2023, 87 percent more than in 2022 when 239 GW was installed. The global cumulative installed capacity reached 1,624 GW by the end of 2023, up 38 percent from 1,177 GW a year earlier, when the solar fleet recorded 26 percent growth.

Although MEA experienced substantial growth of 45 percent with a cumulative installed PV capacity of 48.1 GW, it did neither affect its overall solar positioning as the smallest global solar region nor its overall market share of 3 percent.

However, the MEA region accounted for three out of the 31 GW-scale solar markets in 2023, defined as countries installing at least 1 GW.

South Africa maintained its top position after installing 3.2 GW, a growth rate of 142 percent driven by private utility-scale solar projects which took off post-2022 after regulatory reforms, and rising demand for residential solar PV and battery storage systems driven by concerns about energy security.

The UAE entered GW territory for the first time since 2019 after installing 3.1 GW, mainly based on the finalisation of the 2 GW Al Dhafra Solar Power Project in Abu Dhabi.

The third GW market in MEA was Saudi Arabia, which passed that threshold for the first time ever, after 1.9 GW was grid-connected, largely from the initial phase of the 1.5 GW Sudair Solar Project.

In 2024, only South Africa and Saudi Arabia are expected to retain their positions in the global GW-scale market. In the MEA, South Africa is forecasted to remain the main contributor for the second year in a row, adding more than one-fifth of all installed capacity in the MEA to reach 3.5 GW while Saudi Arabia is projected to add 1.5 GW, marking a 20 percent decline, after growing 400 percent in 2023 to 1.9 GW.

The Report noted that UAE is not expected to figure in the GW-scale market in 2024 as it is expected to account for only 5 percent (0.8 GW) of MEA installed capacity compared to 21 percent (3.1 GW) in 2023 because no major PV power plant projects are expected to be grid-connected this year.

“Despite this, many smaller markets in the region, all with very favourable irradiation conditions, are increasingly recognising the cost advantages, business opportunities, and energy security potential of solar power, leading to an upsurge in solar activities throughout the area,” the report said. 

(Editing by Anoop Menon) (

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