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Solar energy prices dropped seven times in seven years
$18 million invested in solar PV market last year
A total of $18 million were invested in solar PV projects last year, according to the 2017 Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Status Report for Lebanon, recently released by UNDP.

By the end of 2017, the PV sector was worth more than $76 million and had reduced 84,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

The number of solar PV projects has increased significantly since the launch of the National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action (NEEREA) funding program in 2010, when there were only 25 PV projects in the pipeline. There were 352 solar PV projects by the end of 2017.

The sector has 61 companies and employs at least 670 people.

The installed solar PV capacity, which equaled 470 kilowatt-peak (kWp) in 2011, grew to 35 megawatt-peak (MWp) in 2017.

Turnkey prices for solar PV have been falling steadily year after year, from around $7,000 in 2011 to $1,500 per kWp in 2017.

To better grasp the impact that these price reductions have on the market, a $100,000 investment in 2011 developed a 14 kWp system. The same investment built 65 kWp systems in 2017.

The industrial sector is leading with new PV projects, followed by the commercial sector. Mount Lebanon leads the market with 40 percent of overall projects, followed by the Bekaa.

The medical sector had the highest solar PV capacity growth rate, which exceeded 240 percent, with 1.5 MWp of total installed capacity by the end of 2017.

"Many hospitals heavily depend on their diesel generators to maintain uninterrupted electricity supply which in turn can maximize the savings of PV systems by reducing diesel consumption," the report said.

The National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) calls for 100 MWp of solar PV by 2020. The market still needs to add 65 MWp in three years to reach this goal.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh