Saudi Arabia looking to invest in solar power

The Saudi government is set to unveil this new renewable-energy strategy at a conference in Riyadh on April 3In February. Saudi Arabia announced that it would be looking to develop its solar energy, geothermal energy and wind energy sectors. Officials from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, the agency in charge of promoting alternative energy, are expected to announce guidelines and targets for solar power at the Riyadh conference.

Current electricity generating capacity stands at 45,000MW and this will need to rise to 120,000MW by 2030 if Saudi Arabia is to maintain its position as OPEC’s leading oil supplier. To expand capacity and the electricity grid, the country will need to invest more than US$100 billion over the next 10 years, with a third of that going towards renewable and non-renewable energy power plants.

Belectric and Sun & Life are building the largest solar power plant of Saudi Arabia in Dhahran. The 10 Megawatts Photovoltaic Carport System is situated at the recently built North Park offices of Saudi Aramco in Dhahran and will cover all of the 4,500 parking spaces. Belectric, world market leader in Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) of solar power plants, executes the North Park Project in cooperation with Sun & Life, Regional Solar Pioneer in the Middle East, a subsidiary of Acwa Holding, Saudi Arabian Leader in developing private Power and Water generation projects infrastructure and utilities projects.

More than 120,000 CIS (Copper Indium Selenide) photovoltaic modules will be installed, supplied by the Japanese Thin Film Leader Solar Frontier (Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K.). Belectric was awarded the project by the Saudi Arabia based company Al Yamama, the project principal, building Saudi Aramco’s Northpark complex including offices and the carpark. Belectric and Sun & Life intend to enhance their cooperation to a full scale joint venture in EPC contracting of solar power plants, and manufacturing of Balance of System components in Saudi Arabia.

Belectric is known for its global track record and innovative design providing best system performance at a very competitive cost for solar power plants. "We are very proud to be awarded this project. The clear benefits of the thin-film photovoltaic modules combined with our enhanced plant technologies and project engineering are the contributing factors to drive a solar power plant reliable and efficient under hot climate conditions", says Bernhard Beck, CEO of Belectric. The large-scale power plant will produce electricity and feed it in to the public grid by the end of 2011.