Representatives from the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE), the government body directing alternative energy development, have announced the country’s ambitious long-term goals for solar power. The oil-rich kingdom aims to have installed 41GW of concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar PV projects by 2032, 25GW and 16GW respectively.
Plans to construct geothermal, biomass, wind and nuclear plants were also announced on at the Saudi Solar Energy Forum in Riyadh on May 8, 2012. The proposed framework would cost tens of billions of dollars and see Saudi Arabia producing almost 25% of its electricity from solar power installations. Solar PV projects will supply the country’s daytime electricity demand, while high-capacity CSP plants will provide the majority of solar power, while including thermal storage facilities.
If the plans come to fruition, Saudi Arabia will become one of the world’s largest solar power producers. The plans are currently under assessment from the KA-CARE board, though approval is expected to be granted for the scheme in the coming weeks.
KA-CARE also announced that it would be conducting two bidding rounds for the sale of around 5GW worth of solar plants. The first round of bidding will be in the first quarter of 2013, where 1.1GW worth of PV project and 0.9GW of CSP will be up for sale. The second round of bidding will take place in the third/fourth quarter of 2014, when KA-CARE will be offering 1.3GW worth of PV project and 1.2GW of CSP. The minimum project size for sale is expected to be 5MW.
Project offers will be assessed on qualitative measures such as experience in the development of solar projects as well as suggested price per kWh of produced electricity.
Through the implementation of the program KA-CARE aims to diversify Saudi Arabia’s energy mix to create jobs, generate green power and reduce the wasteful use of hydrocarbons.