The Rise of Solar Energy in the MENA & The Case of Lebanon

Solar energy has gained considerable attention in the Middle East and has emerged as a significant subject in Lebanon.

Transitioning to Solar Energy in the MENAT Region

The MENA region boasts approximately 70% and 50% of the world’s proven reserves of oil and natural gas, which historically have served as the predominant sources for energy supply, consumption, and exports in the region. However, due to the finite nature of these reserves and the consequential environmental impact of their emissions, there has been a notable shift in the mindset of governmental officials towards transitioning to the utilization of renewables, particularly focusing on solar energy. Over time, the implementation of Solar Power Systems has become financially viable, with the cost of Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) decreasing from 3 cents per kWh to 1.5 cents per kWh. This cost reduction is attributed to a combination of factors, including a shift in stakeholders’ interests towards solar power, alterations in panel production processes, and changes in the costs of components. Encouraged by these incentives and driven by various business-related considerations, numerous countries in the region have taken substantial steps towards the development of solar projects.

Solar Energy Progress and Collaboration in the MENAT Region

The impetus to shift towards solar energy is evident in each country’s commitment, as demonstrated by ongoing project developments and future aspirations for clean energy targets. Although the U.A.E continues to lead in this industry, the subsequent table highlights the contributions of other partner countries:

Table 01

Samples of countries with set solar and other renewable energy targets

Solar Transition in Lebanon Amidst Socio-Economic Challenges

In the case of Lebanon, the socio-economic events unfolding since 2019 have adversely impacted energy security, compelling residents to seek alternative methods of energy generation, particularly through solar solutions. Lebanon experiences an average solar irradiation ranging from 1,520 KWh/m2 to 2,148 KWh/m2 annually. The residential sector has notably embraced this transition, with many residents adopting off-grid solar power systems to augment their existing energy mix. Despite facing numerous challenges, including the establishment of a national target for solar integration into the energy mix at 30%, the country is resiliently progressing towards cleaner and renewable energy sources. While Lebanon’s solar potential may not match that of some other nations, there is a determined commitment to advancing the development of this sector.

Figure 01

The GCC presents an abundance of Solar Potential which encourages solar investment & potential


Substantial progress has been achieved in the development of solar projects, driven by cost reductions and evolving dynamics, signaling a trajectory towards a more sustainable energy future in the region. While the U.A.E assumes a leadership role, the collaborative endeavors of partner countries, as delineated in the table, underscore a shared dedication to advancing solar energy. Despite the challenges confronting Lebanon, there exists a tangible aspiration for heightened development in the solar sector, reflecting a collective commitment to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.

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