While solar power plant installations jump to a new annual record this year, according to the Worldwatch Institute, global trends show that despite all the batabata bing bing (announcements, agreements, tea ceremonies, hand-shaking), the Middle East is doing miserably in taking advantage of the sun –– one country is the exception there and it is Israel.
The Institute clocks 2013 a record year for solar energy growth for solar electricity generation as both the photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) markets continued to grow.
Some 39 gigawatts were installed worldwide, and the PV solar market represented one third of all newly-added renewable energy capacity.
Solar PV installations nearly matched those of hydropower and, for the first time, outpaced wind.
Even though photovoltaics still continue to dwarf CSP capacity, the CSP market also had another year of impressive growth. By the end of 2013, a total of 19 countries had CSP plants installed or under construction.
This is matched with consumption of power from PV and CSP plants which increased by 30 percent globally in 2013 to reach 124.8 terawatt-hours.
Who’s using solar power?
Europe accounted for the majority of global solar power consumption (67 percent), followed by Asia (23.9 percent) and North America (8.1 percent).
However, despite the record growth in installations, global investments were down 20 percent (from $142.9 billion in 2012 to $113.7 billion in 2013), reflecting a significant decrease in costs to build solar installations. Not necessarily interest in the area.
This month a global PV module spot price reached an all-time low of $0.63 per watt. For the first time, Asia overtook Europe as the largest regional market.
Prospects are bright, say experts. And in some countries solar power on roofs is less expensive than buying power retail. Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, and Germany lead the way in this regard.
This year 2014 is expected to bring 40-51 gigawatts online.
Below are the country highlights showing the miserable representation from Middle East countries – countries that have the power and capital potential to lead the way. Clearly crisis management, and carbon based fuels of the last 100 years are still the number one priority for most leaders in the Middle East region.
Prove us otherwise!
Country highlights to compare to the sorry state of the MidEast MENA region:
China installed 12.9 gigawatts of PV, the most ever installed in one year by any country.
Europe installed close to 11 GW of PV.
North America added 5.2 GW of PV.
In Central and South America, solar development has been sluggish.
The Middle East and Africa had little PV activity, with the exception of Israel and South Africa, which added 420 MW and 75 MW, respectively.