KSA launches world’s largest solar plant

KSA launches world’s largest solar plant
Updated 22 November 2013

KSA launches world’s largest solar plant

KSA launches world’s largest solar plant

Saudi Arabia has launched the world’s largest solar power plant on the roof of the Princess Nora University in Riyadh. The plant covers an area of 36,000 sqm.
The Kingdom is looking to use solar energy for at least 10 percent of its total energy needs and aims to generate 5 gw of solar energy by 2020.
Indeed, the prominent viability of solar energy in a sun-filled region has become the Kingdom’s new challenge.
With average temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, Saudi Arabia records more sunshine than anywhere in Europe or most of the USA. At 5 kw per sqm, solar radiation production in the Kingdom is higher than in most parts of the world.
As one of the fastest growing economies of the world, the Kingdom’s energy consumption is on a yearly upward trend, creating the need to look for alternative energy sources.
Solar energy seems to be the most viable option, yet has not been able to make significant progress when compared with other GCC countries.
In a significant move, municipalities in the Kingdom are opting to use the solar power system for street lighting to promote environmentally-friendly energy consumption in the Kingdom.
The Jeddah Municipality announced on Wednesday that it would launch street lighting through the solar power system in strategically important locations of the city.
It revealed that it has launched the first pilot project in the third Ruwais district in Jeddah.
It also intends to launch similar solar power projects in five different locations in the city, of which four are in the busy Red Sea off-shore area and one in Rehab district.
The Jeddah Municipality also stated that the solar power project will be evaluated after six months and will replace the existing electrical lighting system in the city based on the results.
The Makkah Municipality is building its own solar plant with an estimated capacity of 100 mw at an estimated cost of SR2.4 billion to supply power to 35 tunnels and street lights in the holy city in a bid to save electricity. The Madinah Municipality is also using solar power for lighting up its parks.
The Ministry of Islamic affairs, Endowments, Dawah and Guidance is planning to switch to solar energy at mosques to heat water for ablution and for air-conditioning systems.