Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers

Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers
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Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers
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Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers
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Updated 27 October 2014

Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers

Solar energy: Manz sees bright prospects for Saudi engineers

Manz AG, a major high-tech engineering company in the world, is exploring the possibility of entering the high-potential Saudi solar energy market.
Mohamed Alammawi, vice president sales in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Manz, who visited Saudi Arabia recently, is working on projects to develop turnkey production and fabrication plants for CIGS modules in Saudi Arabia and the region as a whole.
Saudi Arabia is one of the frontrunners in developing, deploying and implementing the renewable energy source.
Alammawi is focusing on establishing regional setups, developing business infrastructure, managing operations, directing MENA expansions, and meeting sales growth and strategic market presence objectives.
Manz AG, based in Reutlingen, Germany, is a world leading high-tech engineering company, founded in 1987 by Dieter Manz.
In recent years, Manz has grown from an automation specialist into a supplier of production lines.
Manz has amassed expertise in six areas of technology, including automation, laser processes, vacuum coating, printing, meteorology and chemical processes. The technologies are deployed in three strategic fields — the display, solar and battery segments.
“I was in Riyadh, participating in the solar trade mission. We visited several companies very active in this field in Riyadh as well as Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), and other establishments, which are working or planning to enter the high potential solar energy market in Saudi Arabia,” Alammawi said.
He also visited the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). “We have long-lasting relationship with them.”
Alammawi added: “At commercial level, we don’t have any joint ventures with Saudi companies yet. We have some business that is in different stages of development, where we have identified their aim and potential. They also have identified a great opportunity to step into this market either by building solar farms or by even manufacturing solar modules.”
Saudi Arabia officially identified 41 GW of renewables requirement until 2032 in an announcement made three or four years ago.
“We will be happy to deliver production lines, including the knowhow transfer to Saudi Arabia. This is my personal commitment to make it happen; not just to manufacture and deliver modules but even be part of research and development with our company.”
This way, Alammawi said: “We can take significant steps toward advanced technology and create jobs for young Saudi engineers. We are ready to train them here locally and, of course, prior to that in our innovation line in Germany.”
Alammawi stated: “We are happy to work with King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, SEC and Saudi Aramco in know-how transfer but at the end of the day we are interested in supporting the investors in a government or semi-government company like Saudi Aramco, for example, or private investors looking for establishing full integrated manufacturing facilities.”
He added: “I am positively surprised that even private investors are recognizing this big opportunity, which reflects their entry into the new field of industry.”
Solar energy needs manufacturing cells and modules. “We need those panels, we have to install them, make the infrastructure by cabling and waiting for the sun. We are very, very lucky in this area to have a lot of sun. So there is no emission and no dangers, and the modules could be installed on solar farms or even on building roofs,” Alammawi said.
Asked what impact solar energy will have on the Saudi economy or how the economy will benefit from solar energy, he stated that aside from other effects, localization of the new technology will help create jobs.
“Our concept involves having high local content by procuring materials and, on the other hand, this will support SEC with power supply, at least to cap the day-time peaks.”
So by end of the day, Alammawi said: “We significantly reduce the fossillic sources to be burned for generating electricity.”
Alammawi explained: “Consider the local utilization of high percentage of oil produced to generate electricity or power in general. Even if part of this could be saved and sold to international market for the normal price of oil it will increase the income. It is already recognized that demand for renewable energy is available and the saving program will only result in efficiency. “We already see several companies are established and operating not only locally but also at internationally.”
Responding to a question whether Saudi Arabia can be a leader in solar energy in this region, he answered in the affirmative. “Definitely,” he said, adding: “We have a lot of favorable conditions, including our geographical location.” In fact, several local and international institutes have identified enormous spaces within Saudi Arabia, which have high sun radiation ensuring a large harvest of energy.
Outlining the scope for solar energy in the region, he said: “If you look at this region, this is a sun-belt area, which goes across the whole of the Middle East and also beyond. All these put the Kingdom the best place to generate power by sun radiation. So our activities are not only limited to Saudi Arabia but the whole region.”
For example, Jordan has already started implementing and tendering projects to generate electricity by solar.
The beauty is that Manz is not the module producer but it manufactures machines to produce various modules. Thus, it creates value proposition and adds value to the investor, he added.
In Saudi Arabia, solar capacity targeted to be utilized is 9 GW to 11 GW, which is to be produced locally in a year, according to Alammawi,
At the Riyadh conference, he said: “We talked about high potentials in Saudi Arabia. The question is not whether solar energy is possible but when it will start in Saudi Arabia. Everybody is geared up actually and waiting for legalizations so they can start.”
There are some solar farms operating in Saudi Arabia. “We have modules installed for long time testing purposes. From each party where our modules are installed, we can really get a lot of information and data and see where lies the benefit of CIGS modules in comparison to others, especially in the harsh conditions where temperatures are very high and dusty as well.” 
Manz is listed on the stock exchange in Germany from 2006, and currently operates production facilities in Germany, China, Taiwan, Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy. Manz has sales and service branches in the US, South Korea and India.
At the beginning of 2014, Manz had about 1,900 employees, 900 of which work in Asia.  Revenues in the past financial year amounted to more than 266 million euro.