Market Assessment

Analysis of Solar Technologies and Services in Meknes-Tafilalet (Morocco), USAID, 2009

    Description
    This study, written by Hélène Kirémidjian for USAID, examines the growth potential of the solar energy industry in Morocco. While some of the analysis focuses on the region of Meknes-Tafilalet, the majority looks at market-wide factors that are relevant to Morocco as a whole. The study identifies electricity generation from photovoltaic cells, along with water heaters, as the solar energy products with most commercial potential in Morocco. The market for each of these is examined in detail.

    Morocco's solar power market has great potential for sustainable growth. The demand for electricity has grown steadily in Morocco in recent years. Despite an abundance of natural sunlight, Morocco largely depends on imported fossil fuels. Domestically, attitudes are beginning to change, and new opportunities to export solar power to neighbouring countries are emerging. Meanwhile, the Moroccan Government supports the solar industry through its rural electrification programme, through the installation of photovoltaic cells in public institutions and more recently, through legislative reforms that facilitate off-grid electricity generation. Furthermore, there is potential for Morocco to take advantage of the Clean Development Mechanism to fund the expansion of the solar power industry.

    Despite its potential, Morocco's solar energy sector remains in its infancy. The study thus considers what Morocco can learn from leading countries in the solar industry. Government support is viewed as crucial to the solar market's development. Policy recommendations include the use of public tenders, the introduction of feed-in tariffs for decentralised production, investment in research and development and reform of the taxation system to favour renewables over fossil fuels.

    In Morocco, the market for solar water heaters is concentrated around the tourism sector. The potential customer base could be much broader, the study indicates, if the public knew more about the cost-effectiveness of solar water heaters. To achieve this, there is an urgent need for collaboration among value chain actors to market the benefits of solar technologies. Also recommended are the development of financial products that facilitate investment in solar energy, a legislative requirement to include solar water heaters in new buildings, reforms to enhance the quality control of imported solar equipment, and better regulation of equipment installers to increase public confidence.