Saudi Arabia to generate 10% solar power by 2020

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced an ambitious plan by which it will derive 10% of its electrical supply from solar power by 2020. Such an achievement will see Saudi Arabia emerge as the world’s largest source of solar energy.

A statement by the Saudi government said that the country hopes to be "able to generate five gigawatts of solar energy by 2020 in order to meet this target."

The move also aims to create more job opportunities, as the Saudi government said the Kingdom’s budding solar industry could create over 15,000 jobs.

To that aim, the government is "encouraging the development of solar farms, plants for processing of raw materials and assembly, and other related facilities," the statement said, adding that various investors have already pledged more than $3 billion for various solar ventures.

One of the most talked about projects is a $380 million polysilicon plant, slated to be built along the Gulf Coast. The development of the Saudi Arabia’s solar power sector will be at the heart of Saudi Energy 2012 – the 15th International Show for Electricity, Lighting, Power Generation and Water Technology, one of the world’s leading cleantech expos, scheduled for May 7-10 in Riyadh. The expo also focuses on solar, nuclear and other alternative forms of energy.