The time is ripe for local and international businesses to get involved in the Saudi PV market.
RIYADH – 3 October 2013. In a country where 16 GW of solar-photovoltaic capacity are set to be installed by 2032 – of which 6 GW are targeted for installation before 2020 – the time is ripe for local and international businesses to get involved in the Saudi PV market.
Given that a few megawatts of solar PV have been installed so far, nearly 1,000 MW will need to be installed every year in order to achieve Saudi Arabia's 2020 target. Since 1,000 MW of PV equates to around 6 million m2, this means that roughly 4 million solar panels will be required per year, or more than 10,000 solar panels per day.
Land requirements, however, should not be a limitation, as vast amounts of space are available in the desert. The challenge lies in understanding how Saudi Arabia's desert conditions can influence the operation and output of a PV power plant; a topic that will be discussed in depth at the upcoming ‘Desert Solar in Saudi Arabia' conference.
The conference is part of the International Solar PV Trade Mission: Saudi Arabia that will take place from 10 to 14 November. The trade mission is jointly organized in a partnership between Netherlands-based Solarplaza and the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA).
During the one-day Desert Solar conference, Saudi experts will discuss practical business cases in relation to the operation and maintenance (O&M) of PV plants in the desert, an area that requires more attention than any other PV application. Other topics will explore the financial conditions for PV power plant development in the kingdom, and lessons gained from operating PV plants in U.S. deserts.
"Saudi Arabia is a natural market for solar PV. Not only is the country blessed with huge oil reserves, but its solar 'reserves' are definitely infinite. The potential is incredible," says Edwin Koot, CEO and founder of Solarplaza, which organized 40 international PV trade missions and conferences over the last nine years.
"Not only could Saudi Arabia power its whole country with solar energy, it could even generate enough solar energy covering the global yearly electricity needs using just a relative small part of its desert area. The good news is that by generating more solar energy, more oil can be exported, generating higher revenues and profits. Saudi Arabia could become solar hub for the Middle East," explains Koot, who is a senior PV expert working in the solar PV industry since 1994.
With as much as $109 billion allocated by the Saudi government for solar investments, and five to seven renewable energy projects to be tendered in the introductory tendering round, competition will be intense amongst bidders. Those that can mark their presence early and establish solid partnerships are more likely to gain a slice of this massive market. For international PV players, Saudi Arabia boasts many large, well-financed companies that can manage utility-scale projects.
For Saudi companies, partnering with international PV players would be highly advantageous, helping them obtain the technical expertise needed for taking on projects. In fact, building synergistic partnerships and pooling assets and expertise could make all the difference in meeting the rigid criteria outlined in K.A.CARE's White Paper.
With this in mind, Desert Solar and the International Solar PV Trade Mission: Saudi Arabia will provide a much-needed meeting platform to facilitate matchmaking between Saudi and international companies, bringing together project developers, EPC companies, O&M contractors, financial institutions, equipment manufacturers and industry consultants.
About Solarplaza International BV(www.solarplaza.com)
The Dutch company Solarplaza (www.solarplaza.com) is a global leader in the organisation of top-level solar PV conferences, seminars and trade missions around the globe. Its mission is to empower the solar industry. The platform www.solarplaza.com provides and shares knowledge, networking opportunities and information. Solarplaza firmly believes in a renewable future: a future built upon the power of solar energy. Since the founding of Solarplaza in 2004, the company organised more than 50 events around the world and built up an extensive network of valuable friends, associates, business contacts and solar experts.
About Saudi Solar Industry Association(www.saudi-sia.com)
Abundant solar potential gives the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) a unique opportunity to become one of the most energy-advantaged countries in the world. The Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA) is a non-governmental association that strives to make this vision a reality by helping Saudi Arabia and the Middle East realize the full economic and environmental potential of solar energy. The goal is to bring the national and regional solar industry together, transforming the vast solar potential of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East into a commercially- and environmentally-viable solution for our growing demand for electricity.