South Africa's target of building 8.4 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity by 2030, combined with the success of its large-scale tendering process in attracting investment to fulfill that goal, positions the country as the most attractive emerging PV market globally, according to analysis by IHS Technology.
South Africa scored 66 out of 100 in the IHS Emerging PV Markets Attractiveness Index for the fourth quarter of 2013, 17 points ahead of the second-most attractive market, Thailand.
The index ranks the attractiveness of PV markets in emerging countries to investors, developers and manufacturers in macroeconomic climate, potential market size, project profitability and pipeline maturity. Among the top five countries in the index, South Africa ranked highest in potential market size, project profitability and pipeline maturity.
‘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,’ says Josefin Berg, senior PV analyst at IHS.
According to Berg, Thailand's position as the second-most attractive emerging market for PV reflects investors' enthusiasm for the government's policy of paying feed-in premiums to solar power producers. However, Berg notes that because that program has now been discontinued – replaced with a rooftop feed-in tariff – Thailand could lose its attractiveness to PV investors.
Turkey rounds out the top three emerging markets. IHS says its position reflects conditions conducive to the development of PV, including soaring power demand and prices, relatively low country risk, and established PV incentives. An obstacle to Turkey's growth, however, is the relatively modest project sizes in its OV pipeline. While IHS sees the potential for the installation of 1 GW of PV capacity in Turkey by 2017, it forecasts a build-out of only 150 MW this year in the country.