Saudi Arabia Inaugurates First Solar Power Plant

The Kingdom’s first solar-powered electricity-generating plant, located on Farasan Island and launched on Saturday, marks the beginning of a new era in the country, Ali Saleh Al-Barrak, President of Saudi Electricity Company, said.

Government-owned utility Saudi Electricity Co. (SECO) and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a Japanese energy company partly owned by Saudi Arabian Oil Co., built the plant on Farasan Island off the Red Sea coast, SPA said yesterday. 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.