The case for utility-scale storage in the Middle East

In a recent chat with pv magazine, Yasser Zaidan, senior sales manager for the Middle East at JinkoSolar, described the trajectory of the large-scale storage business in the main markets of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s large scale energy storage market is expected to developed at an unprecedented pace in the years to come, according to Yasser Zaidan, senior sales manager for the Middle East at JinkoSolar.

“As of 2024, we have started our vertical integration production line starting from sells to the complete Battery container, having 6 GWH battery cells operational production line to reach 12 GWh by the end of 2024, up to 24 GWh by early 2026, and 16 GWh of battery solutions in house production capacity with a plan to reach 28 GWh by early 2026,” Zaidan told pv magazine. “There will be interesting tenders for storage and we also expect to deploy our solution in futuristic projects in the region. We have seen many medium-scale tenders in Neom varying from 3 MWh to 40 MWh, and also other utility- scale storage tenders.”

Zaidan said he also sees potential for storage in neighboring countries such as Yemen and Lebanon.

“Storage is a must there, it’s not something luxury. And this also applies to many other countries in the Middle East region,” he added. “It must also be considered that electricity grids in many countries need to be strengthened and storage may help reduce costs, while also ensuring safe power supply.”

Zaidan said he sees potential for battery deployment in the commercial and industrial (C&I) business, although low power prices in several Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries are still a hurdle.

“The Iraqi market has a huge potential for ESS due to the lack of grid infrastructure and high dependency on private conventional energy generation, which is mainly represented by diesel generators,” he said. “For Egypt, we have seen a demand in the agriculture market due lack of gridsupply for rural farms, where DC pumping solutions have been used for years, but still pumping hours need to be extended through installing ESS in these rural farms.”

Zaidan said that Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Palestine are adapting energy storage solutions to solve infrastructure challenges such as peak and demand and frequency regulations for both C&I and the utility scale. He said energy storage installation regulations will likely be released in Jordan within the next few months.

“Battery prices are on a downward trend,” he stated. “This makes them more attractive, although the market still needs a push to thrive, especially in terms of regulations and public support. This segment, however, is definitely set for more growth in the next years.”

Zaidan said that battery prices have dropped by 50% over the past five years, with a 30% reduction in the last 12 months alone. He attributed the decrease to recent technical advancements in storage solutions and higher demand downstream, along with rising upstream production.

“For utility scale, the current price varies between $150/kWh to $200/kWh,” he said.

According to BloombergNEF, the MENA region is expected to reach 2.1 to 3 GWh of annual installations through 2026.

“I believe it is under-forecasted due to the high potential of many utility scale projects in the upcoming two years,” said Zaidan.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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