MESIA Solar Outlook Report 2018

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Low prices of solar energy have led policy-makers, regulators and industry leaders to take a number of steps to increase and accelerate the adoption of solar power throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Most notably, countries that were late to adopt solar-energy strategies and policies have now put forward ambitious targets. Countries with solar plans in place in terms of megawatts installed have substantially increased those targets. Finally, scaling up the size of solar projects has allowed nations to capture value across the value chain.

In 2017 we saw the completion and successful commercial operation of the second large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Middle East.

The construction of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s (DEWA) 200 MW phase II of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park was successfully completed one month ahead of schedule. DEWA revealed the plant was built at a cost of AED1.2 billion (US$326.7 million).

The year showed similar trends of competitive levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar projects to those observed over the past couple of years throughout the region.

The Renewable Energy Project Development Office’s (REPDO) 300 MW Sakaka project in Saudi Arabia reported the lowest PV LCOE (2.34 US$ cents per kWh) in the MENA region.

Other large-scale deals that reached financial closure in the MENA region in 2017 were the MASEN 170 MW Ouarzazate IV PV in Morocco and the ADWEA 1GW PV.

In addition, a number of the 1.4 GW of PV projects under Egypt’s Round II feed-in tariff (FiT) have reached financial closure and started construction.

The 2.34 US$ cents per kWh contract awarded by REPDO to ACWA Power for the 300 MW Sakaka project was amongst the world’s lowest unsubsidized solar-power prices. A world record low tariff of 1.77 US$ cents per kWh was set in Mexico in 2017 by Italian developer Enel under certain bid conditions and structure, which were not applicable in the MENA region 2017 tenders.