Saudi Arabia Develops Solar Energy Projects at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology and in Farasan Island

Abdulhadi Al-Mureeh
Managing Director of National Solar Systems.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Currently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's population is estimated at 27 million with energy demands growing at an annual rate of 5%. Despite being an oil-rich export economy for decades, the introduction of alternative energy could create significant value for Saudi Arabia's energy landscape, by ensuring sustainable opportunities for diversified economic growth. We will consider here two on ground project of solar energy in Saudi Arabia.

In 2008, National Solar Systems, Saudi Arabia's leading solar systems integrator was awarded the Kingdom's first grid-connected solar facility in King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The 2 Megawatt solar power plant was built on the top of the on the North and South Laboratories of the University occupying an area of 11,577 square meters and was commissioned in early 2010 with an annual output of 3,300 Megawatt hours of clean energy and saving up to 1,666 tonnes of yearly carbon emissions. This equates to carbon offsets for approximately 11,758 million kilometers of air travel.

Early this year, National Solar Systems implemented the kingdom's second grid-connected solar power generation facility in the Redsea island of Farasan southwest of Saudi Arabia. Unlike KAUST, which was a rooftop implementation, the Farasan project was a groundmounted installation utilizing thin-film technology over an area of approximately 7,700 square meters next to the existing Saudi Electricity Company power plant. The solar plant was commissioned and connected to the SEC grid last July and generates over 800 Megawatt hours annually sufficient to power approximately 150-200 homes. This facility is avoiding at least 400 tons of carbon emissions annually.

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