Saudi foodmaker turns to Engie for 30MW of solar supply

Saudi Arabia is expected to become one of the world's solar growth engines, installing 1-5GW every year by 2024 (Credit: Pixabay)

Engie has secured a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a solar plant to back the operations of Saudi Arabia’s self-styled largest listed food group.

The board of directors of NADEC, a maker of dairy products, juices and others, has rubberstamped a deal to procure power from a 30MW plant Enel will deploy in the kingdom’s east.

The installation in question is slated for development in Haradh city, where NADEC runs a complex featuring R&D centres and others.

The PPA, covering a 25-year period, will see solar power sold to NADEC at a fixed price of 0.094 riyals per kWh (around US$0.025/kWh).

In a statement, the food and beverage group said “it will not seek any financing in respect of the project as it will not incur any capital or operational expenditure”.

The 30MW development will get formally underway on 31 October 2019. The plan, NADEC said, is to launch commercial operations on the same date next year, starting with a 60-day trial period.

Once live, Engie’s scheme will slash NADEC’s carbon emissions by 53 million kilograms and fuel use by 124,000 barrels a year, according to its estimates.

For Engie, the Saudi Arabia project adds to its solar pipeline beyond France, with recent progress with a 60MW duo in Senegal and a 746MW auction-backed pipeline in Mexico.

The firm manages a 1.85GW solar portfolio across the globe and claims to be France’s top industry player, at a reported 12% market share.

Wood Mackenzie expects Saudi Arabia to become one of 12 new “engines” driving solar growth worldwide, joining the likes of France, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Ukraine.

If the consultancy’s predictions come to pass, the Kingdom will be – as will the rest in the 12-strong group of countries – add 1-5GW of PV installations every year by 2024.

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