PV module and wafer manufacturer ReneSola has announced a 15kW contract with Taibah University in Medina, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia.
The company's solar modules are expected to arrive in Medina early this year and will be used to charge the battery of an off-grid power plant project to test off-grid solutions.
Commenting on the contract win, Xianshou Li, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ReneSola said: “An off-grid solution, particularly one with PV modules powering an energy storage system, can be far more cost-effective than delivering electricity to a small area by conventional means.
“At the same time, a PV solution can typically be completed faster than grid-connected projects, which provides additional incentive for developers to go with an off-grid PV alternative. We believe such off-grid solutions will find a niche in the PV market, particularly in emerging markets like Africa, South America and the Middle East, where we are already seeing demand. With our new presence in Saudi Arabia, we will continue to work to expand our business and bring innovative PV solutions to the region.”
In a report published last week, GTM Research predicts Saudi Arabia will represent almost 8% of total global demand by 2015. The report highlights insolation, grid prices and electricity demand as the fundamental factors that will make Saudia Arabia the MENA region’s first gigawatt-scale market by 2015.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia has announced a renewable energy strategy that will include 16GW of photovoltaic facilities and 25GW of concentrating solar power facilities by 2030.”
According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is investing US$109 billion into solar energy, with work on its first solar-powered facility to commence this year and could take two years to complete.
Currently, Saudi Arabia has around 3MW of solar installations, lagging behind the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. However, Saudi Arabia would like to free up more of its oil for the export market. With current oil prices already high and predicted to rise significantly over the coming decades, solar energy would be a cleaner and more cost-effective alternative.
Zhidong Zheng, ReneSola's Senior Vice President of wafer technology, added: “We believe our modules are well suited for the climates of Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, particularly our Virtus II modules, which generate high efficiency with very low sensitivity to variations in temperature. The minimal degradation of our solar modules results in long life cycles and reliable power output. We are confident they will perform well in Medina, Makkah Province and attract other developers throughout the Middle East.”