Solar in Saudi Arabia: It’s Just Getting Started

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Saudi Arabian and leading international solar PV companies to discuss opportunities at Desert Solar Conference in Riyadh

Riyadh - 4 November 2013 - It’s hard to imagine that a few years ago, a 1 MW PV plant was seen as a large project, when Saudi Arabia is targeting 6000 MW of solar PV capacity by 2020. The achievement of such an ambitious goal, however, will require the installation of around 10,000 solar panels per day.

How this will be realized is one of many topics to be discussed at the Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia conference, which will be held at Sheraton Riyadh Hotel & Towers on 13 November, 2013. Around a hundred participants, of which more than 30 are leading international experts, will join on this day to explore partnership opportunities.

Desert Solar is part of an international Solar PV Trade Mission to Saudi Arabia that will see 20 high-level PV executives visiting the country and meeting with leading stakeholders in the local solar industry, including K.A.CARE and Saudi Aramco.

Consequently, the one-day conference will offer an exclusive opportunity to meet with these executives and learn of what has been concluded after their visits and meetings in Saudi Arabia, while providing an ideal platform for participants to network and build relationships with global and Saudi PV players.

Other discussions at Desert Solar will explore whether solar panels can be twice as cheap by 2020; where in the value chain can costs be pushed down further; and what this means for the Saudi PV market.

“The Saudi solar downstream industry, such as installers, EPCs and investors can benefit directly. If the Saudi market demands volumes of 1000 MegaWatt and more, PV production is going to happen locally. The market will attract leading producers to invest in local facilities. Very likely it’ll be joint ventures, or partnerships like in other countries,” says Henning Wicht, a leading PV market consultant and senior director of solar research at IHS, who will be revealing more market perspectives at the Desert Solar conference.

“We’re going to present our forecast of PV module cost, based on industry learning curves. Also, I’d like to share our views on best practices in developing solar investments in new markets,” notes Wicht.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia is on the cusp of significant developments in the next three years. Considering its solar radiation levels of 2,550 kWh/m2 per year, as well as the vast areas of desert that can host large solar installations, and huge deposits of clear sand that can be used to manufacture of silicon PV cells, the country’s solar future is inevitable.

Add to that a well-proven independent power producer framework supported by a strong liquid financing industry and a government-backed solar programme, and you have all the ingredients for a booming solar market. But to get involved successfully, a strong local footprint is key, and foreign players are expected to demonstrate long-term commitment.

“Such opportunities are best harnessed through partnerships with credible and well-established local players, who can add values well-beyond commercial representation,” says Yahya Shakweh, vice president at Saudi Arabia's Advanced Electronics Co., a sponsor of the Desert Solar conference.

The Solar PV Trade Mission and the Desert Solar conference are jointly organized by the Netherlands-based Solarplaza and Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA).

 


About Solarplaza International BV

The Dutch company Solarplaza (www.solarplaza.com) is a global leader in the organisation of top-level solar PV conferences, seminars and trade missions around the globe. Its mission is to empower the solar industry. The platform www.solarplaza.com provides and shares knowledge, networking opportunities and information. Solarplaza firmly believes in a renewable future: a future built upon the power of solar energy. Since the founding of Solarplaza in 2004, the company organised more than 50 events around the world and built up an extensive network of valuable friends, associates, business contacts and solar experts.

About Saudi Solar Industry Association

Abundant solar potential gives the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) a unique opportunity to become one of the most energy-advantaged countries in the world. The Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA) is a non-governmental association that strives to make this vision a reality by helping Saudi Arabia and the Middle East realize the full economic and environmental potential of solar energy.

The goal is to bring the national and regional solar industry together, transforming the vast solar potential of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East into a commercially- and environmentally-viable solution for our growing demand for electricity.

 


Saudi Arabia's renewable energy target and the opportunities for foreign players

Saudi Arabia aims to install 54 GW of low carbon power by 2032, of which 41 from solar. How will the country reach its goal? Which opportunities can this new market offer for foreign renewable energy companies? We asked Yahya Shakweh, Vice President at Saudi' Arabia's Advanced Electronics Co.

Not only oil: Saudi Arabia aims to obtain one third of its power from renewable sources by 2032, installing 54 GW of low carbon power of which 41 from solar. How will the country reach its goal? Which opportunities can this new market offer for foreign renewable energy companies? We asked Yahya Shakweh, Vice President at Saudi' Arabia's Advanced Electronics Co., who on November 28th in Milan will also be the key note speaker at the OIR organized seminar "Renewable Energies in the Gulf Countries. Business Opportunities for the Foreign Investors".

Dr. Shakweh, Saudi Arabia is very rich in fossili fuels, why has it decided to bet on renewable energy?

The decision of Saudi Arabia to diversify its oil-dependent economy by investing in renewable energy sources is a logical step, since it will free-up finite oil & gas resources for export and for other industrial uses. This will also extend the availability of the Kingdom’s natural resources for future generations and help meet Saudi Arabia’s own, ever growing, energy needs. For example, in 2000 twenty four percent of the country’s oil and gas production was used to cover domestic needs and ten years later, this had increased to thirty five percent. Estimates suggest that more than forty percent of the Kingdom’s oil and gas production would be required to cover the domestic demand by 2020. Renewable energy will also accelerate the development of long-term sustainable power and water supply capacities, which is an important priority given the country’s current supply and demand imbalances. It is worth noting that Saudi energy consumption per capita amounts to over 7,000 kWh annually, and as a whole the Kingdom is estimated to be within the twenty highest electricity consumers worldwide. The establishment of a national renewable energy industry will contribute strongly to the strategic goals set out by the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Industry, as well as promoting Saudi Arabia’s industrial centers and future projects. Renewable energy industries are expected to create employment for locals, while assisting in the national development of human capital that is required to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy, with industrial activities in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing. Furthermore, committing to such clean energy sources will also benefit the country’s environmental conservation efforts.

Which renewable energy sources are more suitable for the features of the country?

Detailed studies, commissioned by national institutions, indicate that the most sustainable sources of renewable energy for Saudi Arabia are photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP), geothermal, wind energy and waste-to-energy. Saudi Arabia is an ideal location for both CSP and PV power generation. This is due to the remarkably high solar radiation of around 2,550 kWh/m2 per year, which is almost double the average radiation in Germany for example, as well as the availability of vast areas of empty desert that can host solar installations. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has huge deposits of the type of clear sand that can potentially be used in the manufacture of silicon PV cells. The Kingdom has viable wind energy potential, with close to five hours of full-load wind per day on average, which is one of the highest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea coastal areas are Saudi Arabia’s main regions with potential for wind energy development.

Saudi Government has announced a plan to reach 41 GW of solar power by 2032: which policies will it introduce to achieve this target?

Saudi Arabia’s policy has not yet been announced, but it is anticipated to be a mix of competitive bidding and a feed-in tariff. Recently, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA CARE) announced the establishment of the Sustainable Energy Procurement Company (SEPC). This Saudi government-backed body will be responsible for administering the procurement rounds and managing the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) awarded under the Competitive Procurement Process (CPP). The CPP will consist of an introductory round of five to seven projects, followed by additional rounds over a two to three year period. These projects will target 7000 MW of capacity, with each being no less than five MW. KA CARE has also announced a renewable energy target of fifty four GW of renewable energy including solar, wind, geothermal and waste-to-energy projects, by 2032. KA CARE will publish the form of the proposed PPA for comment from interested parties and for public feedback. It is expected to provide for a term of twenty years and will be entered into with SECP, though details are yet to be clarified. The decision on whether or not to introduce a Feed-In Tariff (FIT) will be made after the second full-scale procurement round. If such a FIT were adopted, it would probably be used initially only with smaller-scale projects involving proven technologies. In terms of investments, Saudi Arabia has the most robust and well-proven Independent Power Producer (IPP) framework, supported by a strong and liquid financing industry, which has demonstrated its capability to locally finance major infrastructure projects.

Does distributed generation also have a role in the plan?
Although the main focus is on utility-scale renewable power plants, distributed generation will be limited to remote locations that are not grid-connected. Small villages represent an excellent potential for micro generation with hybrid designs including solar energy, desalination, cooling, and more.

Read the full article: www.qualenergia.it 

Ambitious Saudi Arabia Solar Plans Hinge on Capitalizing on Major PV Module Price Reductions

El Segundo, Calif. (Oct. 30, 2013)—As Saudi Arabia seeks bidders for its ambitious solar projects, the country stands to benefit enormously from plunging costs for photovoltaic (PV) technology—if the nation plays it smart, according to IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Momentum is building around the country’s introductory tender round for PV projects early next year. These tenders represent an important first step in the country’s goal of generating one-third of its electricity from solar power in 2032.

IHS predicts that Saudi Arabia will install 1,481 megawatts (MW) worth of PV systems from 2013 through 2017, as presented in the attached figure. This will make the country the third-largest nation in the Africa and Middle East region in terms of PV installations, with an 18 percent share from 2013 to 2017. Saudi Arabia will trail South Africa and Israel, which will account for 31 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s bold initiatives come at a time when PV module costs are dropping, making large-scale solar systems more affordable. The average selling price (ASP) for solar modules is expected to dive to $0.38 per watt in 2023, down nearly 50 percent from $0.73 in 2012.

The initial tender aims to procure renewable power-generation capacity in the range of 500 megawatts MW to 800 MW.

However, this tender will require bidders to strike a balance between locally manufactured content and competitive bid prices. Such an onerous condition could prevent Saudi Arabia from capitalizing on the pricing reductions going on for modules—and from attaining its goals.

“The outcome of this first tender in Saudi Arabia will serve as a benchmark for future tender rounds,” said Henning Wicht, Ph.D., senior director of solar research for IHS. “Expected technology costs are poised to play a key role in determining the success of this tender. While PV module production costs are expected to drop by half during the next decade, for Saudi Arabia to benefit from global price reductions its supply chain for modules must be transparent and not overruled by mandates for local content.“

Desert heat

Having announced a 16-gigawatt PV target by 2032, Saudi Arabia is emerging as a new hot spot in the Middle East and Africa region. Along with Israel and South Africa, Saudi Arabia has the most developed ambitions on renewable power in the area.

“Saudi Arabia is definitely a market to watch,” said Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar at IHS. “However, this market is still in flux as the time frame and requirements for the planned tenders remain under consultation.”

IHS shines light on solar technology costs at conference

Dr. Wicht will detail the impact that technology costs can have on the Saudi PV market in his speech at the upcoming Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia conference on Wednesday, Nov. 13. The conference is part of the International Solar PV Trade Mission: Saudi Arabia event.

During the one-day Desert Solar conference, experts will discuss practical business cases in relation to the operation and maintenance of PV plants in the desert, an area that requires more attention than any other PV application. Other topics will explore the financial conditions for PV power-plant development in the kingdom, and lessons gained from operating PV plants in U.S. deserts.

For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Cassell
Senior Manager, Editorial
jonathan.cassell@ihs.com
Direct: + 1 408 654 1714
Mobile: + 408 921 3754

Or

IHS Media Relations
press@ihs.com
+1 303 305 8021

 

Canadian Solar to Supply Modules to Saudi Aramco's KAPSARC Solar Power Project

GUELPH, Ontario, Oct. 21, 2013 - Canadian Solar announced that it has been awarded a contract to supply 1.78MW to Saudi Aramco's KAPSARC ("King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center") solar power project in Saudi Arabia.

Following a very detailed and intense selection process Saudi Arabian Oil Company ("Saudi ARAMCO), the world's largest crude oil producer, has awarded Canadian Solar a contract to supply 1.78MW of its high quality solar panels to the extension of the KAPSARC Solar Power Project which, once completed, will be largest ground mounted solar photovoltaic ("PV") power plant in Saudi Arabia.

"After a long and detailed testing and registration process we are honored to become a certified supplier to Saudi ARAMCO as well as to be the first solar PV panel manufacturer to supply panels directly to Saudi ARAMCO for the prestigious KAPSARC project. Our high quality CS6X series solar panels will be used for the implementation of this project on the grounds of KAPSARC in Riyadh. We believe that this flagship project will also be a determining factor to select and qualify technology partners with bankable solar power solutions and proven track record to ensure the successful execution of Saudi Arabia's ambitious 16GW solar PV energy development program," commented Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar.

This contract win represents another step in Canadian Solar's successful efforts to expand its global footprint and industry leading customer base in emerging new markets, and follows previous contract wins in the gulf region, underlying the trust of Middle-Eastern customers in the Company's solar products.

The Company's solar panels have undergone rigorous formal inspections and testing, and have received prominent international quality certificates, including "Desert Proof certificate-Blowing Sand Test". In addition, Canadian Solar panels are covered by a 10-year warranty on materials and workmanship, along with a 25-year linear power output performance guarantee. The Company's product and performance warranty is further backed by a third-party insurance policy that is underwritten by investment grade insurance companies, ensuring a safe investment for developers, investors and project owners.


About Canadian Solar

Founded in 2001 in Canada, Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is one of the world's largest and foremost solar power companies. As a leading vertically integrated provider of solar modules, specialized solar products and solar power plants with operations in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East,Australia and Asia, Canadian Solar has delivered more than 5GW of premium quality solar modules to customers in over 70 countries. Canadian Solar is committed to improve the environment and dedicated to provide advanced solar energy products, solutions and services to enable sustainable development around the world. For more information, please visit www.canadiansolar.com.

 


IHS Solar Whitepaper: The PV Market Environment in Africa & Middle East

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Saudi Arabia to become gigawatt scale solar market

APRICUM

Saudi Arabia is dedicated to becoming the largest solar market within the MENA region, amounting to 41 GW of installed solar capacity by 2032, according to the plans of governmental policy maker K.A.CARE.

Solar companies are advised to enter the Saudi Arabian market now, as K.A.CARE has announced that its renewable energy procurement program will start in 2013 with an introductory tendering round consisting of 500–800 MW of
solar and wind power generation capacity.

To find out more about solar energy as the solution to many of Saudi Arabia’s domestic energy challenges, understand the market drivers and business opportunities for solar companies, get your free copy of Apricum’s Country Profile on Saudi Arabia.

Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory.

 

Desalination from oil power to solar power?

SAUDI GAZETTE - THE Desert Kingdom; desalination from oil power to solar power?

Saudi Arabia finds itself in an interesting economic cleft stick. While blessed with oil that it can currently sell at around $104 per barrel on the world market, it is compelled to burn a sizable proportion of that potential income to produce desalinated water. Cost of production of water fluctuates, but a fair guess is between 40 and 90 cents a barrel, depending on fuel price.

To produce water, the Kingdom uses approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil a day across its 30 or so desalination plants to meet the demand for domestic and industrial water. Little of this water — if any is used for agriculture. The water for agriculture — some 85 to 90 percent of the total water use in the Kingdom — comes from non-replaceable resources, underground aquifers that are drying out rapidly. For every 100 liters per annum withdrawn, only one liter or less finds itself back into the aquifer.

The government has wisely decided that food security, once an unquestionable shibboleth of policy, is no longer worth the use of resources and has taken up the idea of virtual water. This refers to the hidden flow of water if food or other commodities are traded from one place to another.

Read full article online 

Mecca Seeks to Lead Saudi Arabia’s Solar Energy Expansion

BLOOMBERG - Mecca, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year visiting Islam’s most holy shrine, is working toward becoming the first city in Saudi Arabia to operate a utility-scale plant generating electricity from renewables.

The city on Jan. 5 plans to select from a group of at least 20 bidders competing to build and operate facilities producing 385 gigawatt-hours per year of power including 100 megawatts of solar capacity, said Mayor Osama al-Bar.

“No city in Saudi Arabia owns power-generation assets, and we want to be first city that owns power plants and hopefully the first in the Muslim world,” al-Bar said in an interview on Sept. 16 in the nation’s capital, Riyadh.

Read full article online

 

 

 

10,000 SOLAR PANELS PER DAY REQUIRED TO ACHIEVE SAUDI GOVERNMENT GOAL

Riyadh – 3 October 2013. In a country where 16 GW of solar-photovoltaic capacity are set to be installed by 2032 – of which 6 GW are targeted for installation before 2020 – the time is ripe for local and international businesses to get involved in the Saudi PV market.

Given that a few megawatts of solar PV have been installed so far, nearly 1,000 MW will need to be installed every year in order to achieve Saudi Arabia’s 2020 target. Since 1,000 MW of PV equates to around 6 million m2, this means that roughly 4 million solar panels will be required per year, or more than 10,000 solar panels per day. 

Land requirements, however, should not be a limitation, as vast amounts of space are available in the desert. The challenge lies in understanding how Saudi Arabia’s desert conditions can influence the operation and output of a PV power plant; a topic that will be discussed in depth at the upcoming ‘Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia’ conference. 

The conference is part of the International Solar PV Trade Mission: Saudi Arabia that will take place from 10 to 14 November. The trade mission is jointly organized in a partnership between Netherlands-based Solarplaza and the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA).

During the one-day Desert Solar conference, Saudi experts will discuss practical business cases in relation to the operation and maintenance (O&M) of PV plants in the desert, an area that requires more attention than any other PV application. Other topics will explore the financial conditions for PV power plant development in the kingdom, and lessons gained from operating PV plants in U.S. deserts.

“Saudi Arabia is a natural market for solar PV. Not only is the country blessed with huge oil reserves, but its solar 'reserves' are definitely infinite. The potential is incredible,” says Edwin Koot, CEO and founder of Solarplaza, which organized 40 international PV trade missions and conferences over the last nine years.

“Not only could Saudi Arabia power its whole country with solar energy, it could even generate enough solar energy covering the global yearly electricity needs using just a relative small part of its desert area. The good news is that by generating more solar energy, more oil can be exported, generating higher revenues and profits. Saudi Arabia could become solar hub for the Middle East,” explains Koot, who is a senior PV expert working in the solar PV industry since 1994.

With as much as $109 billion allocated by the Saudi government for solar investments, and five to seven renewable energy projects to be tendered in the introductory tendering round, competition will be intense amongst bidders. Those that can mark their presence early and establish solid partnerships are more likely to gain a slice of this massive market. For international PV players, Saudi Arabia boasts many large, well-financed companies that can manage utility-scale projects.

For Saudi companies, partnering with international PV players would be highly advantageous, helping them obtain the technical expertise needed for taking on projects. In fact, building synergistic partnerships and pooling assets and expertise could make all the difference in meeting the rigid criteria outlined in K.A.CARE’s White Paper.

With this in mind, Desert Solar and the International Solar PV Trade Mission: Saudi Arabia will provide a much-needed meeting platform to facilitate matchmaking between Saudi and international companies, bringing together project developers, EPC companies, O&M contractors, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers and industry consultants.

About Solarplaza International BV 
The Dutch company Solarplaza (www.solarplaza.com) is a global leader in the organisation of top-level solar PV conferences, seminars and trade missions around the globe. Its mission is to empower the solar industry. The platform www.solarplaza.com provides and shares knowledge, networking opportunities and information. Solarplaza firmly believes in a renewable future: a future built upon the power of solar energy. Since the founding of Solarplaza in 2004, the company organised more than 50 events around the world and built up an extensive network of valuable friends, associates, business contacts and solar experts.

About Saudi Solar Industry Association 
Abundant solar potential gives the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) a unique opportunity to become one of the most energy-advantaged countries in the world. The Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA) is a non-governmental association that strives to make this vision a reality by helping Saudi Arabia and the Middle East realize the full economic and environmental potential of solar energy.
The goal is to bring the national and regional solar industry together, transforming the vast solar potential of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East into a commercially- and environmentally-viable solution for our growing demand for electricity.

 

 

SASIA'S WHITE PAPER ON THE SOLAR POTENTIAL OF SAUDI ARABIA

Knowing that a heavy reliance on oil is  not sustainable  and can  jeopardize economic growth, Saudi officials are aiming for a more sustainable future, preservation of non-renewable fossil fuel resources and Saudi Arabia’s international energy leadership. Together with EuPD Research and Viridis IQ,  SASIA  has composed a White Paper as an evaluation of the potential of photovoltaics and other renewable energies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


 

 

Saudi Arabia: International partnerships crucial for solar PV market development

Riyadh – 3 October 2013. In a country where 16 GW of solar-photovoltaic capacity are set to be installed by 2032 – of which 6 GW are targeted for installation by 2020 – now is the time for local and international businesses to get involved in the Saudi Arabian PV market.

With as much as $109 billion allocated by the Saudi government for solar investments, and five to seven renewable energy projects to be tendered in the introductory tendering round, competition will be intense between bidders, who will have to undergo a scrupulous selection process.

Companies that can mark their presence early and establish solid partnerships are more likely to gain a slice of this massive market. For international PV players, Saudi Arabia boasts many large, well-financed firms that can manage utility-scale projects from a financial perspective, besides having the experience and know-how to execute projects in the country.

For Saudi businesses, on the other hand, whether specializing in renewable energy, conventional power plants, engineering and construction, project development, or operations and maintenance, partnering with international PV players would not only be advantageous, but vital to obtaining the technical expertise and knowledge needed for taking on large-scale PV projects.

As a matter of fact, building synergistic partnerships could make all the difference in securing funds and meeting the rigid criteria outlined in K.A.CARE’s Proposed Competitive Procurement Process (CPP) for the Renewable Energy Program – more commonly referred to as the White Paper.

For example, amongst the CPP’s key evaluation criteria are the bidder’s financial capability, development status, experience and local content usage. “In order to qualify proponents for the initial procurement rounds, the focus will be on financial capability and experience,” states KA.CARE’s White Paper.

“For the experience requirements, the proponent or at least three of its designated team members must have planned and developed, constructed, or operated at least one or more renewable generating facilities of similar size and technology to those being proposed, in order to qualify,” the document further highlights

Such requirements could be easily met through the establishment of strong partnerships and the pooling of assets and expertise. Indeed, several partnerships have already formed in Saudi Arabia’s solar arena.

Most recently for instance, Germany’s Phoenix Solar AG was contracted to develop a 3.5 MWp PV plant for Saudi Aramco, for which 12,684 panels from China’s Suntech were used as well as inverters from SMA Solar Technology AG. The ground-mounted PV system is now being extended to 5.3 MWp, also by Phoenix Solar, and will become the largest in Saudi Arabia when completed in the first half of 2014.

However, the German company, along with its Singapore subsidiary, partnered with local project developer Hi-Technology & Contracting Company to jointly implement the designing, procurement, construction and commissioning of the new 1.8 MWp PV plant, which will cover around 2.6 hectares of desert land.

This is a perfect example of how merging the experience of a reputable international PV developer with that of a well-established Saudi contractor resulted in the winning of a major contract.

Operating under desert conditions

Given the few megawatts of solar PV have been installed so far in Saudi Arabia, almost 1,000 MW will need to be installed every year in order to achieve the government’s 2020 target of 6 GW. Since 1,000 MW of PV equates to around 6 million m2, this means that roughly 4 million solar panels will be required per year, or more than 10,000 solar panels per day.

Land requirements, however, should not be a limitation, as vast amounts of space are available in the desert. Moreover, the country’s high solar irradiation, which ranges from 1,800 kWh/m2 up to 2,200 in some locations, can potentially maximize the power yields and operating efficiency of a PV plant.

The challenge lies in understanding how desert conditions in Saudi Arabia can influence the operation and output of a PV power plant; a topic that will be discussed in depth at the upcoming ‘Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia’, to be held on Wednesday 13 November in Riyadh.

During this one-day conference, which is jointly organized by the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA) and the Netherlands-based Solarplaza, Saudi experts will discuss practical experiences and business cases in relation to the operation and maintenance (O&M) of PV plants in desert locations, an area which requires more attention than any other PV application.

“Saudi Arabia is a natural market for solar PV application. Not only is the country blessed with huge oil reserves, but its solar 'reserves' are definitely infinite. The potential is incredible,” says Edwin Koot, CEO and founder of Solarplaza, which has organized 40 international PV trade missions and expert conferences in the last nine years.

“Not only could Saudi Arabia power its whole country with solar energy, it could even generate enough solar energy covering the global yearly electricity needs, using just a relative small part of its desert area. The good news is that by generating more solar energy, more oil can be exported, generating higher revenues and profits. Saudi Arabia could become solar hub for the Middle East,” explains Koot, who is a senior PV expert working in solar PV industry since 1994.

Considering that the world’s biggest PV power plants are located in the deserts of Arizona and California in the U.S., valuable lessons can be gained from these projects and their performances, and from the O&M that they’ve required to date. The lessons learnt from PV power plants in U.S. deserts is yet another topic in the Desert Solar programme.

The conference will host a diverse group of participants from across the local and international PV industry, including project developers, EPC companies, O&M contractors, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers and industry consultants. Most importantly, the event will provide a much-needed meeting platform to facilitate matchmaking between Saudi and international companies.

Desert Solar is part of a one-week international solar PV trade mission to Saudi Arabia taking place from 10 to 14 November 2013. The trade mission will bring together a group of high-level solar business executives to explore all aspects of the Saudi PV market through intensive discussions and site visits to energy utilities and policy makers.

 

DarSolar launches initiatives to promote the growth of solar energy in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—DarSolar, a new company recently formed by Saudi Arabian solar advocates, is taking its first steps toward attracting international partners to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company will offer a variety of services intended to streamline the entry of international solar partners and spur growth in the industry, including solar engineering, project management, business development, professional certification, and other consulting services.

For Abdulmohsin Al Shoaibi, Managing Partner of DarSolar, the company’s launch is the culmination of fifteen years of advocacy for the solar industry in the KSA. ”Three to five years from now, Saudi Arabia will have a well-established solar energy marketplace. The Kingdom has launched an ambitious 30-year program with sizable targets, potentially valued at more than US$150 billion, which is generating a great deal of interest in the international community. Many forward-thinking organizations have already recognized the need to begin building their brands and relationships in the Kingdom today. Those that succeed will enjoy significant competitive advantages in the near future.”

While many companies offer agency or representation relationships in Saudi Arabia, DarSolar is the only one that has been formed to focus specifically on the solar energy industry. The company seeks to foster mutually-beneficial partnerships between international solar companies and the KSA, both as an incubator service for companies working to become established in the Kingdom and through the formation of long-term franchise or consulting partnerships.

Read the full article on: www.darsolar.com

 

Why local sourcing of solar components is economically inefficient

Should developers of solar power in the Middle East be required to source components locally?

Guests at the Arabian Water & Power Forum in Dubai last week mostly voted “Yes”. But this is a complex question, involving not only the future of renewable energy in the region, but the whole economic development strategy.

Solar power is increasingly popular and economically viable across the Middle East and North Africa.

Even with progress in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Morocco and Qatar, the region’s largest plans belong to Saudi Arabia, which wants to build 41 gigawatts of solar power by 2032, about a third of its total generation.

And it’s the Saudi plans that highlight the issue of local content. Successive rounds of renewable procurement will feature increasingly stringent requirements for Saudi-produced components, in the hope of creating 137,000 jobs.

Like the Saudis, many countries view local content requirements as a way to generate domestic employment, create high-tech industries and keep some of the value of renewable investment in-country. They also help to attract public and corporate support for renewable energy programmes.

For instance, India’s National Solar Mission, announced in 2009, requires winners of tenders to use solar cells and modules manufactured in the country.

Elsewhere, the Canadian province of Ontario, and some American states, also have in-state sourcing requirements. Some German companies lobbied for social and environmental standards – disguised protectionism – to keep out Chinese competitors.

However, local content requirements may hurt the solar sector – and the wider economy – more than they help.

Read the full article at: www.thenational.ae

 

 

Saudi solar plans taking shape

Eight months after releasing its white paper outlining ambitious alternative energy goals for Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA.CARE), the agency overseeing the country’s energy strategy, has established the necessary framework to implement renewable energy projects.

In an article published Tuesday in Saudi Arabian newspaper Arab News, Abdulhadi Al Mureeh, executive director of National Solar Systems, said KA.CARE had "completed laying out the legal, organizational and economic basis for launching alternative energy projects in cooperation and coordination with government authorities like the Ministries of Finance and Petrol, Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), King Abdulaziz City, ARAMCO Saudi Arabia, Saudi Electric Company and other entities."

Read full article at: www.pv-magazine.com