Saudi solar at a cross roads

Saudi Arabia’s solar energy ambitions appear to have reached a cross roads following two recent significant developments.

by Jason O'Connell

Dr Khalid Al Sulaiman, the man tasked with making the country’s plans a reality, has left his post as vice president of the King Abdullah Centre for Renewable and Atomic Energy (K.A. CARE), the agency set up in 2010 with a mandate to oversee the Kingdom’s renewable and nuclear energy sector development.

Mystery surrounds the departure because it remains unclear whether he retired or the government decided to not renew his contract, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

The move has also raised question marks over the Kingdom’s hugely ambitious strategy of adding 41 GW of solar power by 2032, which was supposed to be overseen by K.A. CARE.

Saudi Arabia’s target for an installed solar capacity is by far the largest in the world. However, since the plans were unveiled in a White Paper last year, there appears to have been little progress, and it remains to be seen how the government will now move forward with its solar strategy.

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