You are here

Saudi Arabian solar set for 2015

Solar power could supply one fifth of Saudi Arabia’s energy needs if plans to make a full switch from fossil fuel to clean energy in the coming decades are achieved

The world's biggest oil producer in 2012 announced it planned to make a total switch from fossil fuels to clean energy

Saudi Arabia’s first solar plant could be generating electricity to the oil-rich country by 2015, according to an official at the agency developing the country’s renewable energy program.

The target is part of ambitious plans by the country to create a solar industry that generates one third of the nation’s electricity by 2032.

If the government approves the plan by the City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A-CARE), construction will begin next year. The country is eyeing renewables as a means to free up more crude oil for export. It has already earmarked USD 109 billion to invest in its solar sector.

Along with nuclear power, renewables are on course to supply half of Saudi Arabia’s electricity in the next 20 years. Solar would supply a fifth of that energy.

In May, vice president for K.A-CARE Khalid al-Suliman said 41,000MW of electricity could come from solar capacity – 16,000MW from photovoltaic panels, the rest from solar-thermal technology.

The plans open up huge market for solar panel manufacturers such as First Solar Inc. and SunPower Corp. as European countries reduce subsidies to keep a lid on installations.