• Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi is Operations Offic

• Gabriel HurtadoG Solutions Manager atMitie

cer at the OPEC Fund González is Energy


he Paris Agreement asks each country to outline and communicate its post-2020 climate actions known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

At the heart of the Paris Agreement, NDCs embody efforts by each nation to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Both energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives are central to NDCs and fundamental to enabling countries to meet their commitments. The Paris Agreement represents an ambitious

and strategical approach for all – and for developing countries in particular – to reach a global peak of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as soon as possible and to reduce them rapidly thereafter. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy activities from developing countries will lead to an overall reduction of 1.4 Gt in carbon emissions by 20201


Solar PV generation costs have been decreasing rapidly over the past decade at over 10 percent per year. In several countries, the cost of solar PV is almost as low as energy from coal and gas3

. These trends are encouraging. New solar

PV generating capacity in developing countries is growing year-on-year fuelled by low-price equipment and innovative new applications4


Globally, renewables are leading the generation of new power; solar PV is leading the deployment of new renewable capacity; and developing countries already represent more than 50 percent of global solar capacity (compared with less than 10 percent a decade ago). The World Bank’s RISE (Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy) scorecard5

shows that .

Partly due to the growth in solar photovoltaics (PV) in developing countries, this renewable energy source is on track to reach the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) level by 2030, which requires the electricity it generates to increase 16 percent annually, from 570 TWh in 2018 to almost 3,300 TWh in 20302

. This

potential, and that solar PV is a locally available energy resource with minimum operating and maintenance costs, makes it an important ingredient in the energy mix of developing countries. So what are the other drivers – and obstacles – to this energy source?

developing nations such as Mexico, China, India and Brazil, are increasingly taking the lead in delivering supportive policies for clean energy adoption. Nearly 50 developing countries have so far adopted solar PV. Feed-in tariff policies (FITs – see box), which accelerate investment by offering producers favorable long-term contracts, are the most extended form of solar PV support6

. For

instance, in Uganda, FITs have attractive prices, which have boosted the country’s renewable market and local economy. In 2014, Algeria implemented FITs for both solar PV and wind projects. Costa Rica also recently proposed higher FIT rates for solar PV systems. In Kenya, FITs for solar PVs focus on large ground-based plants and are at very attractive levels7


According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy activities from developing countries will lead to an overall reduction of


in carbon emissions by 2020

Initiatives led by development funds and similar organizations, such as the International Energy Agency, the International Renewables Energy Agency and the World Council for Renewable Energy, are also used to stimulate the growth of and investment in solar PV

technologies. India, Mongolia, Jordan, El Salvador and Pakistan are among the countries to have benefited from initiatives in this regard8


Specifically, in Mongolia, the government formulated the second stage of the national Renewable Energy Program (2011/2020) which, through the support of the World Bank, led to the on-lining of a 10 MW solar PV power plant in 2018. Also in 2018, the government of Jordan

approved a new policy allowing all public institutions – such as universities and museums – to build, operate and own solar PV power plants. The policy allowed these institutions to sell the generated electricity to the state-owned National Electric Power Company. This led to the development of the 103 MW Quweira solar PV plant, financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund (ADFD). This Quweira plant is the largest solar PV facility in Jordan. In recent years, asking the private sector to tender for public solar PV projects has gained momentum in developing countries. In some markets, because of intense competition in the solar PV space, maturing technology, tax incen- tives and economies of scale, record bids below US$0.03 per kWh have become the new norm9


Low bids for the provision of solar PV projects in 2016 and early 2017 were achieved by develop- ing economies such as India, Jordan, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and South Africa10

addition, Mongolia and Zambia saw record low national bids for winning tenders in 201611 The manufacture of solar PV technology is

. In .

worthy of mention too, if only to note China’s ascendancy: the country has dominated the manufacture and global shipments of solar PV units for eight consecutive years, since 201012



The top 10 manufacturers, of which a majority are China-based, accounted for about 50 percent of shipments during 201613

Solar PV is the conversion of light to electricity using a semiconducting material (e.g. silicon). Solar PV is different from Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) because while CSP produces electricity from solar energy (by incorporating energy storage), PV produces electricity directly from light without storage and is therefore cheaper and scalable.

A Feed-in Tariff (FIT) is a government policy aimed at increasing investments in renewable energy. It involves payments for households or businesses generating their own electricity through renewable energy. FITs also include additional bonus payments made for excess renewable electricity, exported to the grid, thereby promoting energy efficiency.


PHOTO: Marc Osborne/

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