Saudi Arabia plans $109bn investment in solar energy

25 November 2012 (Last Updated November 25th, 2012 18:30)

Saudi Arabia has a $109bn investment plan to create a solar industry that would generate a third of the country’s electricity by 2032.

Solar PV

Saudi Arabia has a $109bn investment plan to create a solar industry that would generate a third of the country's electricity by 2032.

The kingdom is targeting 41,000MW of solar capacity within two decades and plans to build 16 nuclear reactors by 2030 with a total capacity of 14,000MW.

King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (Ka-Care) vice president Khalid al-Suliman told the Saudi Press Agencythat 16,000MW of the solar target will be generated from photovoltaic panels.

The remaining capacity would come from solar-thermal technology, which heats fluids by employing mirrors to focus the sun's rays and can turn a power turbine with the heated fluid.

Saudi Arabia also aims to produce electricity from its first nuclear power plant by 2020 and start operating a solar farm by 2015.

Al-Suliman said the nation will begin work on its first solar-power facility in early 2013 and the plant is expected to take nearly two years to complete.

The renewable energy project plan is awaiting government approval, which is likely to be received by early next year, Al-Suliman noted.

The world's largest crude oil exporter is tapping renewable energy so that more crude oil is left free for export, reports Bloomberg.

Officials at Ka-Care are considering options to generate electricity from nuclear energy and the percentage of nuclear power in Saudi's future energy mix will be decided in 2013.

In January, Saudi Arabia signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with China, following three accords signed with Argentina, France and South Korea in 2011.


Image: Saudi Arabia aims to generate 16,000MW from photovoltaic panels. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net