In an exclusive interview with SolarQuarter Middle East, Karim Megherbi, Executive Director, EPDA shared his valuable insights on his organisation and how the Middle East region has tackled the crisis along with the future outlook of the solar industry.
How has Covid impacted the Solar industry in the Middle East and how has the region tackled this crisis?
As everywhere, it has been more difficult to implement projects, although financial close happened as planned on the large projects already awarded. Regarding Commercial & Industrial (C&I) projects, the business has slowed down in the first months, but now you can see it back on track. As the electricity demand decreased, some countries took drastic measures. Companies have accelerated the digitization of the O&M and business processes. Health and security rules have evolved, but generally the industry has been able to react quickly.
What are some key challenges being faced by the Solar industry in the region which you would want to be addressed immediately?
Governments are still prudent about increasing too quickly the share of intermittent energy in their grids, but at the same time they are far from being dogmatic and know how to adapt to changes. C&I volumes are still too low, as too few countries have developed an appropriate framework. It could also be interesting to allow small and medium, decentralized projects of few tens of megawatts to develop. The region is regularly assessing the industrial opportunities, but maybe it could be interesting to have a broader view on the sector as a contributor of local economies, beyond providing cheap electricity.
What is your outlook for the Solar sector in the Middle East for the next 5 years?
The perspective of a lower oil & gas demand is a serious threat to these economies, which are currently developing massive petrochemical programs to compensate for this potential loss. In the meantime, solar prices will continue to decrease, as well as
the costs of batteries. Solar prices have already reached a level below the marginal cost
of gas, in a region where this marginal cost is already very low, we will see drastic changes in the coming years.
Read the full interview here: https://solarquarter.com/2020/11/13/solarquarter-middle-east-sept-oct-2020/