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Several countries in the Middle East and Africa are increasingly developing solar PV systems to increase their energy capacity while reviewing greenhouse gas emissions.

Data and analytics company GlobalData says these countries are specifically starting to implement net-metering schemes and solar PV auctions, facilitated by their governments introducing regulatory steps to make these measures possible.

Most countries in the Middle East and Africa are heavily reliant on fossil fuels for power generation sources. High volatility of oil prices and an increasing pressure to decarbonise in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emission, is encouraging governments in the region to look at alternative power generation sources as they increase their country’s energy access.

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One of the most visible trends in the region, according to GlobalData, is the introduction and improvement of net-metering schemes for solar PV installations. Specifically, Israel and the UAE implement net-metering schemes in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s net-metering scheme has so far been implemented in more than 1,000 buildings, with a total capacity of more than 100MW.

Morocco, Nigeria and Ghana have also introduced net-metering regulations and Kenya recently passed legislation to pave the way for a net-metering programme they are about to introduce.

Algeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar are moving towards using solar tenders/auctions to drive the growth of their solar PV markets.

In 2019, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity held a solar PV auction and awarded a project with a capacity of 755MW across seven sites. In the same year, Emirates Water and Electricity Company in the UAE issued a tender for the 2GW solar projects in Al Dhafra region.

Egypt and South Africa also use the auction mechanism to award renewable power capacity, including solar PV.

Giving energy back to grow the economy

Aditya Sharma, a power analyst at GlobalData, says the growth of net-metering and solar power auctions not only helps the countries to develop alternative power generation sources but it also encourages and facilitates economic growth as this increases private investment activities.

Several of the solar PV projects undertaken in these countries have regulations associated with minimum local content requirements which facilitate increased employment along with industrial and technological development.

“Many countries in the MEA region are members of OPEC and are largely dependent on oil as their primary energy source. However, to following the global trend of transition towards renewable energy and to decrease their dependence on a single energy source, man countries in the MEA region are taking steps towards the development of new renewable power capacity,” explained Sharma.