Storage could reshape solar market in MENA

Waleed AlHallaj, the head of business development for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at JinkoSolar, recently spoke to pv magazine about the prospects for the regional energy storage market. He said that storage systems have already penetrated markets with weak grids, such as Yemen and Lebanon.

Storage systems are now being considered in several MENA markets. How would you describe market penetration at this point?

We have seen a great appetite for these systems especially in countries with difficulties in the grid such as Lebanon, Yemen and many parts of North Africa. We believe the [energy storage systems] will start replacing diesel generators as a first step of market penetration in this region, especially with the current oil prices that exceed $1/liter sometimes. In some countries, investments in solar-plus-storage can have an internal rate of return of over 25%, making it a tremendous move towards more reliable, greener, and cheaper source of energy.

Has JinkoSolar already supplied some of its storage products in the MENA region?

We have proudly supplied for some very interesting projects varying from 10 kWh all the way up to 10 MWh in between the Middle East and Africa. And we feel having a proof of concept on the ground will stimulate the market into increasing the adoption rate of such systems, especially with an obvious global energy crisis where such systems can not only provide a cheaper source of power, but also assure independence and continuity for the facility.

What segments are showing the most activity?

In the MENA region, we have seen that both residential and C&I segments are equally active. We also have noticed that some grid operators (transmission or distribution) are also considering such utility energy storage applications to stabilize the grid, especially if the solar penetration percentage is high, such as Jordan for example. We believe storage is going to be important for every single market in the region no matter what the purpose of adoption is.

How are homeowners reacting to the new opportunities offered by storage? Are they ready to make such investments?

In many countries, such systems are the only source of electricity for the homeowners. Without a solar module, battery, and an inverter, they won’t be able to accomplish their daily tasks. The next challenge in this segment is to show these homeowners that this investment can be a long term one, as batteries can live for over 15 years now with new technologies such as LFP, and it is time to ditch the temporary short term solutions that were popular in the previous five to 10 years to more efficient, reliable and sustainable ones.

What do you expect from the MENA storage market over the next five years?

I believe the energy storage implementation will reshape the solar market in the MENA. I believe whether the grid is suffering to perform, or it is challenged by high solar and wind adoption percentages and what is in-between, energy storage will be the answer to all the problems. Today Energy Storage have opened new horizons to expand the use and implementation of the cheap and green renewable energy in a very challenging time.

Waleed AlHallaj, the head of business development for MENA at JinkoSolar, will speak at pv magazine‘s “The case for residential, commercial Battery Energy Storage Systems in the MENA region” webinar, which Emiliano Bellini will moderate on Oct. 10.

This post appeared first on PV Magazine.

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