Solar energy demand in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is attracting the attention of the global solar market, as the industry begins to diversify existing demand from feed-in tariff markets with demand from markets that offer fundamental solar drivers such as insolation, grid prices and electricity needs. On the back of these fundamental drivers, GTM Research, in collaboration with the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), forecasts the annual solar market in MENA countries to reach nearly 3.5 gigawatts by 2015 and comprise close to 8 percent of total demand globally that year.

The clear majority of demand in the MENA region will originate in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to GTM’s report, Middle East and North Africa Solar Market Outlook, 2013-2017. Saudi Arabia promises to be the region’s first gigawatt-scale market by 2015. The report forecasts Turkey to be the second strongest market in the region in 2015 and beyond, as favorable renewables policies and previous wind installation experience is expected to translate into greater solar demand.

FIGURE: Base-Case MENA Solar Demand Forecast

Source: Middle East and North Africa Solar Market Outlook, 2013-2017

“In terms of solar energy, it is clear that the MENA region is set to experience significant change over the next five years,” said Scott Burger, GTM Research analyst and the report’s author. “While Saudi Arabia will likely be the largest market in the long term, there will be significant opportunities throughout the region. With strategic planning and a solid development of local partners and supply chains, savvy companies will be able to capitalize on all of the opportunities in the region.”

This 103-page report examines energy scenarios driving solar growth in the MENA region and the current and projected solar policies for each country. The overall regional outlook calls for more than 10 gigawatts of solar power demand through 2017, but the majority of this demand is expected to materialize by 2015. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of demand is expected to come from Saudi Arabia and Turkey. The report also provides strategic analysis and a competitive outlook on the companies active in each market. In addition, the report offers solar project details (photovoltaics and concentrating solar power) for each market, along with country-specific demand forecasts to 2017.

“The MENA region possesses some of the greatest potential for solar energy in the world,” said Dr. Steven Griffiths, Research Director at ESIA. “This potential is now starting to be more seriously considered; Qatar has announced plans to install 1.8 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity by 2014 and Dubai aims to source 5 percent of its power supply from solar by 2030. Abu Dhabi is commissioning Shams 1, a 100-megawatt concentrating solar power plant. Not to be outdone, Saudi Arabia has announced a renewable energy strategy that will include 16 gigawatts of photovoltaic facilities and 25 gigawatts of concentrating solar power facilities by 2030. These are just a few examples of the growing regional commitments being made to solar energy. ESIA is honored to partner with GTM Research to deliver this MENA state-of-the-market report.”

GTM Research and ESIA will launch the Middle East and North Africa Solar Market Outlook, 2013-2017 on January 16 at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. For event information, contact Nicholas Rinaldi at [email protected].

For more on MENA solar markets and this report, visit