Saudi Arabia qualifies first builders of small solar power projects
Recent announcement by Saudi electricity authority seen as step toward regulating the energy services company (ESCO) sector, qualified contractors allowed to design and install small solar energy installations up to 2MW; confirming Saudi private sector in solar
More than 106 contracting and consulting companies have been trained to implement small solar photovoltaic systems projects for homes and facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
“After approving the regulatory framework for solar energy systems for self-consumption last November, we worked with all parties… to achieve the effectiveness and safety of installing small solar energy systems in facilities to protect the consumer,” the Water and Electricity Regulatory Authority (WERA) said in a recent statement.
According to the statement of WERA, the production of these projects should not exceed 2 MW and they should be designed to meet the needs of small businesses and households in the country.
Qualified contractors and consultants are allowed to design and install small solar energy installations and systems and provide periodic maintenance.
"The aim is to organize such activities and allow consumers to benefit from solar energy in their homes and businesses...This will support the kingdom's plan to diversify its energy sources," the statement said.
WERA affirms that it worked to raise awareness of issues related to the financial and technical aspects of small-scale solar photovoltaic systems connected to the power distribution system, according to a report in the Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.
The authority indicated that those wishing to install small photovoltaic solar energy systems in their workplaces can visit the “Shamsi” portal that the authority provides to the consumer to find out the economic feasibility and estimated costs of installing a solar energy system in a home or facility before connecting it to the public electricity network.
The cost is estimated through an easy-to-use electronic calculator, which helps its users to estimate the expected electrical energy to be generated, depending on the size of the installation and the location in which it will be installed.
It assists the consumer in calculating the energy saved, the average cost and profitability, and the amount of monthly and annual savings, to ensure the feasibility and suitability of a project.
Saudi private sector in small scale solar
“The qualification of 106 Saudi companies to implement the state plan to allow citizens to build solar plants on the roofs of homes and private facilities confirms the development of the Saudi private sector in the field of solar energy,” says Eng. Majed Al-Rifai, CEO of Desert Technologies for Industry, one of the companies qualified to implement small solar photovoltaic systems projects for homes and facilities.
“The decision will raise the demand from individual consumers to establish these stations, especially since the housing sector accounts for more than 50% of the electricity market, in addition to new cities such as Neom, Qiddiya, the Red Sea, and Sandala.”
Al-Rifai explained that the buildings sector in the Kingdom consumes about 80% of total electrical energy produced. In addition to that, 70% of buildings in Saudi Arabia are not thermally insulated, which contributes to the high volume of consumption; therefore the use of solar energy in homes and commercial buildings is a practical way to reduce electricity bills and help reduce carbon emissions.
Energy & Utilities reported late last year that Riyadh-based ACWA Power signed power purchase agreements to develop a 2.1 GW solar PV plant in Al Shuaibah, Makkah province. E&U also reported on the delivery of bifacial solar modules for Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Project.
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