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MENA solar power project tenders to total nearly 5.7 GW in 2017- industry body
16 February 2017
By Anoop Menon
Nearly 5.7 gigawatts (GW) of solar power projects are expected to be tendered across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 2017, according to the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA).
MESIA’s annual Middle East Solar Outlook Report predicts a pipeline of more than 4,050 megwatts (MW) – or 4.05 GW - for the solar photovoltaic (PV) segment and 1,310 MW for the concentrated solar power (CSP) segment to be tendered in 2017. One gigawatt of solar power is enough to power about 180,000 homes, according to the US energy department.
According to data provided by MESIA to Zawya Projects, Egypt tops the table with 1,850 MW (1500 MW of PV and 350 MW of CSP) to be tendered, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 1,400 MW (1200 MW of PV and 200 MW of CSP), Morocco at 900 MW (450 MW each of PV and CSP) and Saudi Arabia at 580 MW (400 MW of PV and 180 MW of CSP).
In 2016, MENA had 885 MWac of solar in operation, 3,610 MW under execution and 1,300 MW under tender, the report said.
In the first half of 2016, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority received a world record low bid of $0.0299 per kW for an 800 MW solar plant, only for Abu Dhabi’s 350 MW Sweihan project to receive an even lower bid of $0.0245 per kWh later the same year. Such competitive tariffs have boosted large-scale solar projects in a region dominated by fossil fuels, MESIA’s report states, predicting 2017 would witness more large-scale project announcements and executions.
Speaking to Zawya Projects ahead of the report’s release on Thursday, MESIA’s general secretary Wim Alen said Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy program will be a “game changer” for the region’s solar power market, citing the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), which targets 3.45 GW of renewable energy by 2020 under the National Transformation Program (NTP) and 9.5 GW by 2023 towards Vision 2030.
“Saudi Arabia is the biggest market when it comes to power and water consumption in the GCC, and to the extent that we see a shift from conventional to renewable power, it is a market to reckon with,” he said.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia will in April invite companies to bid for two new solar and wind power plants with a capacity to produce 700 MW of power.
The 700 MW round one will consist of 300 MW of solar and 400 MW of wind, UAE English language daily The National reported this month.
According to the NREP website, round two and three are expected to target 1.02GW and 1.73GW respectively.
Alen said the Kingdom is expected to close the bids for the 100 MW Al Jouf and Rahfa solar projects by the end of February.
In October 2016, state-owned utility Saudi Electricity Co announced on its website that it had selected 18 companies or consortiums to bid for the two solar photovoltaic independent power projects of up to 50 MW each. It had earlier formally asked for expressions of interest.
© Zawya Projects News 2017