The Saudi Electric Company (SEC) has agreed a deal to build a 50MW solar power plant with a power purchase agreement in place at a rate of 0.1875 Riyals (US$0.049).

The unsubsidized plant, which was confirmed in an announcement by the state news agency, will be built Taqnia Energy and co-developed by SEC and the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST. The latter two will also develop a solar research facility.

KACST and Taqnia are already cooperating on a solar desalination plant with a 40MW capacity PV plant driving the facility.

The country has previously said it would invest US$109 billion in solar power to meet growing electricity demand and increase the volume of oil available for export.

Saudi Arabia has rowed back on timelines for its solar development with regional industry insiders expecting the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) to take a back seat, having initially taken responsibility for driving deployment and seeding a domestic solar industry.

SEC and state oil company Saudi Aramco had been anticipated as likely suspects to begin driving projects towards completion.

The price of 0.1875 Riyals was reported by local newspaper Arab News. The regional weekend meant PV Tech could not confirm the figure at the time of press.