Prospects of photovoltaics in southern European, Mediterranean and Middle East regions

Highlights

PV technology prospects in Sunbelt European and MENA countries are analysed.

High solar resource and low PV electricity cost renders PV competitive in the area.

Gradually moving towards a market-driven policy landscape in south Europe.

Ambitious targets for PV in the MENA region with 2 GW plants planned for 2015.

PV performance and grid/market integration research in the region is reviewed.

Abstract

This review investigates the potential of photovoltaics in southern Europe and Middle East/North Africa in terms of PV status and policies/initiatives for PV market development in the region. In some Sunbelt countries, PV has become a competitive alternative for electricity generation resulting from a combination of high solar resource, decreasing PV system costs and high fuel prices. The PV levelized cost of electricity has fallen in some regions to 0.08 €/kWh whilst retail electricity prices are almost three times higher in some cases attesting to the ideal conditions in the region for PV uptake. In grid parity regions of south Europe, incentives such as feed-in-tariffs have served their purpose. Net metering and self-consumption are proving to be good solutions for driving effectively the PV market as evidenced for the case of Cyprus. In MENA countries, the renewables policy landscape, although still at an exploratory phase, is rapidly developing providing the backbone for a large number of new PV projects. This reflects the region’s commitment to meet its ambitious national targets regarding PV. Overall, the timing for the whole region is excellent to achieve energy sustainability, once better policies are adopted and challenges regarding grid integration and reliability are addressed.

Keywords

  • Photovoltaics;
  • Levelized cost of electricity;
  • Grid parity;
  • Grid integration;
  • Net metering;
  • Self-consumption

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