Facts & Figures 

Solar Potential 

Increasing Electricity Consumption

Electricity consumption is expected to increase with at least 5% per annum on average for the coming decade, resulting in an additional capacity requirement exceeding 60 GW 


Current Status: Installed Capacity

The installed solar capacity in Saudi Arabia is still only 12 MW. The installed capacity in Germany already exceeds 32.000 MW. This means that the installed capacity in Germany is more than 2.600 times as large as in Saudi Arabia. 


But, the average solar irradiation in Saudi Arabia is about twice as high as in Germany.

Average solar irradiation exceeds 1.800 kWh/m2 up to 2.200 in some locations. 

Desert Solar

The Arabian desert covers an area of more than 2.3 million square kilometers. A huge part of this lies within the borders of Saudi Arabia.  


What are the Solar Targets?

41 GW Solar Target for 2032 - 16 GW of that is to be PV - 6 GW to be installed before 2020



Governmental policy maker K.A.CARE has set a 41 GW installed solar capacity target for 2032 of which 16 GW should be PV, of which 6GW is targeted to be installed before 2020.

Oil dependency 

2/3th of the electricity is generated through petroleum inputs 

Oil Society

The petroleum sector accounts for roughly 45% of budget revenues55% of GDP, and 90% of export earnings. 




Saudi Arabia’s surging domestic oil consumption – coupled with its inadequate supply growth – could turn the kingdom into a net oil importer by 2038. Guzzling more than a quarter of its 11.1 million barrel per day production in 2011, Saudi Arabia is the fifth-largest oil consumer in the world. The kingdom even recently surpassed Germany’s consumption level, despite having less than one-third of Germany’s population and one-fifth of its economic output. Continued consumption growth, if left unchecked, could devastate the country’s economy in the coming years. - Source 

Solar Potential or Oil Dependency

In 2009, the electricity consumption in Saudia Arabia was equal to 186.1 billion kWh. If we take a modest annual increase of 5% into account, the consumption in 2013 should be around 226,2 billion kWh.

Assuming an average yield of 1600 kWh/kWp, the amount of PV that would be sufficient to cover 100% of the electricity consumption is 141 GWp.

Taking 0,5 MW/ha this would require 2.820 km2 of desert to be covered with solar power installations. 2.820 km2 is 0.12% of the total Arabian desert area. 

The total area of solar installations that is required to cover 100% of the electricity consumption is equal to an area of 53.1 by 53.1 kilometers.

Map Saudi Arabia 06.jpg

Thought Experiment

Today, 141 GWp of PV installations would require an investment of around 141 billion euros. 
226,2 billion kWh equals 139 million barrels of oil equivalent. Selling this oil equivalent for 25 years at around $105 dollar per barrel on the market would generate 270 billion euros of revenue.



Saudi Arabia aims to become the solar hub serving the Middle East region, local content requirements are resulting in KSA to be the center of the MENA region.

Saudi Aramco targets GWs

Additional to the K.A.CARE targets, the national oil company Saudi Aramco has its own Gigawatt (PV solar) target.


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