The United Arab Emirates (UAE) entered the list of top 10 countries with the largest installed PV capacity per inhabitant in 2023, according to a new report by Belgium-based Solar Photovoltaic (PV) industry association Solar Power Europe.

The UAE secured the 10th spot with a cumulative capacity of 708 Watt/capita, becoming the sole representative from the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region on the list, the report ‘SolarPower Europe (2024): Global Market Outlook for Solar Power 2024-2028’ said.

The top five markets in 2023 with the largest installed solar watt per capita were Australia at number 1 spot with 1,359 W/capita, followed closely by the Netherlands with 1,299 W/capita, Germany (996 W/capita), Belgium (846 W/capita) and Denmark (828 W/capita).

However, from an annual addition perspective, the UAE was number 1 worldwide with 323 W/capita added in a year, rising from a mere 54 W/capita in 2022 thanks to large scale PV plant development in 2023. The Gulf nation installed 3.1 gigawatts (GW), mainly based on the finalisation of the 2 GW Al Dhafra Solar Power Project in Abu Dhabi. Austria and the Netherlands followed with 299 and 276 W/capita added.

From a regional standpoint, the MEA region (of which the UAE is a constituent) came last behind Europe, Americas and APAC regions, reaching only 27 W/capita by the end of 2023 against a global average of 202 W/capita that was exceeded by the other three.

“Considering the region's population of nearly 1.8 billion people – and on the one hand the economic power of some Arab countries and on the other the low electrification rates in many African nations, there is enormous potential for solar growth,” the report said.

However, the region performed well in speed of PV deployment in W/capita terms. While APAC led with a 43 percent growth rate, increasing from 193 to 226 W/capita between 2022 and 2023, MEA came second with a 41 percent growth rate, rising from 19 to 27 W/capita.

(Editing by Anoop Menon) (

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