South Africa most attractive emerging country for solar energy – report

31 Jan 2014

Among the emerging nations of the world, South Africa is top of the list for countries best suited to establish solar-energy projects, a recent report from IHS suggests.

Analysts at the information company have compiled data and projections from countries across the world and have narrowed the most attractive companies down to a top 5 list.

With a Markets Attractiveness Index (MAI) of 66 out of 100, South Africa topped the list, followed by Thailand with 50, then Turkey, Romania and Mexico, who averaged 45.

South Africa’s high score was attributed to its target of building 8.4 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity by 2030, combined with the success of its large-scale tendering process in attracting investment to fulfil that goal.

IHS Solar report

One senior IHS analyst who conducted the survey, Joesfin Berg, believes South Africa is the logical choice to top the poll and expects big things from the nation’s future solar output. “South Africa has consolidated its position as a growth market for PV by cultivating a policy environment stable enough to attract financing from commercial banks.”

The index ranks the attractiveness of PV markets in emerging countries to investors, developers and manufacturers in four key areas: macroeconomic climate, potential market size, project profitability and pipeline maturity. 

Both Thailand and Turkey have been considerably proactive in encouraging the growth of solar-energy PV pipelines but IHS believes there are considerable obstacles, such as unprepared infrastructure and political inefficiency, to see them achieving the same status as South Africa in the near future.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic