World Resource Institute: The top 20 water-stressed countries with the most average solar energy potential are in the Middle East and North African region; the rest are from Asia and Pacific, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. The list includes countries at all economic stages: three are developed (Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia), four are some of the least developed (Afghanistan, Eritrea, Timor-Leste and Yemen), and the rest are from emerging or developing markets.
Yemen has the highest average solar energy potential in terms of global horizontal irradiance (GHI), a proxy of the strength and concentration of solar energy hitting a PV panel. It’s also one of the world’s most water-stressed and least developed countries. The World Bank just invested $50 million in solar PV projects to restore electricity to more than one million Yemenis. However, with the ongoing civil war in the country, renewables development could still be challenging.
Eritrea and Saudi Arabia have the second- and third-highest average solar energy potential, but very different economic power. It is more challenging for countries with constrained financial resources to adopt renewable technologies at a large scale. However, as the cost for solar and wind energy continues to decline, these options are becoming more attractive. Even oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in solar energy for domestic consumption, with a target of 9.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind by 2023.
A full list of all countries with high water stress and their average solar energy potentials can be found at the bottom of this post.
Image credit: https://www.watershortagesa.com/