Solar in Saudi Arabia — What’s Happening in Renewable Energy and What to Expect Moving Forward

October 10, 2018

Saudi Vision 2030 has entirely changed the Kingdom’s approach to renewable energy production and consumption. With the goal of diversifying the kingdom’s energy generation, Saudi Arabia is looking to implement alternative energy sources wherever it can. Green energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear energy are all part of the plan — with solar leading the way due to the Kingdom’s ample sunshine.

While Vision 2030 might seem like something that’s going to happen in the future, the process has already begun in earnest. Here are four renewable energy projects that are already getting started in Saudi Arabia:

The World’s Largest Solar Project

$200 billion. That’s how much the Kingdom and SoftBank have agreed to spend on this forward-thinking, first-of-its-kind alternative energy solution (note: at the time of this writing, the deal is being restructured). The project is slated to be approximately 100 times larger than the next-largest proposed solar development and is poised to make the Kingdom a global leader in renewable energy for the foreseeable future. Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman called it a “huge step in human history” and “bold and risky,” but the government is confident that the project will make a monumental difference in the way the Kingdom — and the world at large — produce and consume alternative energy.

The Dumat Al Jandal Wind Project

Solar isn’t the only renewable energy solution on tap for Saudi Arabia. The Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) at the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM) in Saudi Arabia recently opened bidding for its 400 MW wind project. The Dumat Al Jandal project will be the Kingdom’s first utility-scale wind farm and is the second tender issued by MEIM as part of the National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) under the auspices of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative and Vision 2030.

$7 Billion and Counting

The Kingdom is serious about alternative energy and it’s putting billions of dollars to work to achieve its Saudi Vision 2030 masterplan. The government expects to spend up to $7 billion on renewable energy projects this year, according to Turki Mohammed Al Shehri, head of the Kingdom’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office. KSA plans to have 3.45 gigawatts of renewable energy online by 2020 that includes 700 megawatts of solar and wind power already tendered, said Al Shehri.

A Major Shift to Renewable Energy

After decades as the world’s largest oil producer, the Kingdom is changing gears. And it’s not just the massive projects like the SoftBank deal. A $300 million solar farm was recently approved that will allow ACWA Power, a Saudi energy company, to provide solar power for more than 40,000 homes. Saudi Aramco is already in on the action, with the largest existing solar farm in operation in the Kingdom housed in their parking lot — close to the site of the country’s first commercial oil well. Times are changing indeed.

The Kingdom’s move to alternative energy is already happening, and it’s not just the government. Many Saudi companies are moving at least a portion of their energy use towards renewable energy — reducing operational costs and freeing up more money for investments that grow their businesses. Look for more and more business to follow suit in the coming years.

Sun Capture is a solar energy services company in Saudi Arabia helping businesses in the GCC bridge the gap between the current rising energy demands and costs, and the coming national move towards affordable renewable energy. To learn more about how solar can help your energy needs and bring your business in line with Saudi Vision 2030, contact us today.