Saudi Arabia’s Plan to Go Solar

With solar energy expected to lead the renewables drive, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry is drawing up an incentive program to encourage both companies and households to generate their own solar power. Currently, households account for about half of power consumption in the Kingdom, much of it for air conditioning during the summer months.

Incentivizing the Move Toward Renewable Energy

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced plans to solicit bids for a massive renewable energy push. As part of the Kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption, Saudi Arabia aims to produce 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023, according to Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.

A recent step forward toward moving the Kingdom over to solar power came with the introduction of a regulatory framework for electricity consumers to operate their own small-scale solar power generating systems with unused power exported to the national grid. Consumers will have their excess electricity offset against their future consumption. After a year, they will receive cash payments at a tariff approved by the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority.

The rules will come into force July 1, 2018, when the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) plans to start supplying solar photovoltaic (PV) energy services to customers, and will cover small PV facilities with generating capacity of no more than 2 megawatts.

Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Bishi, the leader of the Renewable Energy Initiative at the SEC, explained the initial application process begins immediately in order to estimate how many participants wish to install solar systems and study the volume of demand and energy produced and its impact on the public network. The details of the service application, instructions, forms and required procedures will be published on the SEC website to facilitate the service to subscribers.

Qualified participants can look forward to choosing the agency to design the appropriate systems for their establishment, as well as their preferred contractor for implementation in preparation for the examination of solar systems by SEC specialists. Once installed, digital meters will show the energy produced by solar systems, energy consumed, and excess power added to the public electricity network.

Read more at Trade Arabia.