First solar energy photovoltaic plant opens in Saudi Arabia

Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Suwayed, undersecretary of Jazan governorate, on Saturday inaugurated the first solar power plant in the Kingdom to generate electricity with a capacity of 500 kilowatts.

Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) established the solar power plant in collaboration with Japanese Showa Shell. SEC’s Chief Executive Officer Ali Saleh Al-Barrak, Saudi Aramco President Khalid Al-Falih and the Japanese Ambassador to the Kingdom Shigeru Endo attended the inauguration.

The establishment of the solar power plant comes in line with SEC’s efforts to introduce clean energy and save the transfer of equivalent of 28,000 barrels of diesel to the Farasan Island, southwest Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia hopes to reduce its use of fossil fuels that it would rather export by building renewable energy plants. The Farasan solarenergy project should reduce diesel burning for power generation on the island.

Under the agreement, Showa Shell will own the project for up to 15 years, after which the assets will be transferred to SEC. Royal Dutch Shell owns one-third of Showa Shell, while Saudi Aramco holds about 15 percent.