First solar park in Saudi Arabia completed
2MW park built on KAUST rooftop.
Saudi Arabia’s first large scale solar park has been completed, it was announced on Wednesday. The 2MW park consists of 9,300 solar modules erected on the roof of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Jeddah.
The park was designed and engineered by German solar company Conergy, who supervised the construction and the commissioning of the complex, while the installation works and operational management were implemented by National Solar Systems. The project was managed by Saudi Aramco, and was executed by several large construction contractors including Saudi Oger.
The 2 MW solar plant consists of two rooftop solar installations with a capacity of one megawatt each, installed on the north and south laboratories of the university. The power system features over 9,300 high-efficiency solar modules with Conergy Suntop III mounting systems and Conergy 280K central inverters. The photovoltaic plant occupies 11,577 square meters of roof space and produces 3,332 megawatt hours of clean energy annually, while also saving up to 33,320 tons of carbon emissions.
“This project demonstrates that the development of alternatives to traditional fossil fuel has taken on a new urgency, even in oil-rich countries like Saudi Arabia,” says Marc Lohoff, head of Conergy Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) with approximately one-fifth of the world's proven oil reserves, is planning to make solar power a major contributor to energy supply in the next five to 10 years, according to the Kingdom’s Minister for Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
“Saudi Arabia aspires to export as much solar energy in the future as it exports oil now,” said Ali Al-Naimi, in an interview with Reuters. The latest sustainability research report from Bank Sarasin further predicts that the use of solar energy in the Middle East will grow at an annual rate of more than 50 percent in the next five years. The Middle East benefits from favourable insolation levels and extensive areas featuring very low population densities, which are ideal characteristics for the deployment of solar energy, said the report.