South Africa PV is top draw – IHS

South Africa’s emerging solar market – with its target of 8.4GW of PV capacity by 2030 – has made the country the most attractive globally to solar investors, developers and manufacturers, says a new study.

South African solar scored 66 out of 100 in the IHS Emerging PV Markets Attractiveness Index for the fourth quarter of 2013.

The index ranks the attractiveness of PV markets in emerging countries in four key areas: macroeconomic climate, potential market size, project profitability and pipeline maturity – deeming incentive schemes as one of the most important factor for near-term attractiveness.

“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,” said Josefin Berg, senior PV analyst at IHS.

Thailand’s position as the second-most attractive emerging market for PV, 17 points behind South Africa, reflects investors’ enthusiasm for the country’s ‘adder scheme’, under which the government paid feed-in premiums to solar power producers.

However, the programme  has now been discontinued and replaced with a rooftop feed-in tariff, which may prove problematic to potential investors, claims Berg.

Third-placed Turkey also benefits from attractive conditions conducive to the development of PV including soaring power demand and prices, relatively low country risk and established PV incentives.

An obstacle to its growth, however, is the relative immaturity of its PV pipeline, with projects larger than 1MW currently at a standstill awaiting the tender of 600MW of licenses.

While IHS sees the potential for the installation of 1GW of PV capacity in Turkey by 2017, it forecasts a build-out of only 150MW this year in the country.