Saudi Arabia has launched a national solar energy initiative to reduce the cost of electricity and water and meet growing energy demand.

Under the new initiative launched by The King Abdulaziz City of Science and Technology (KACST), the country plans to produce electricity at about 0.3 riyals (US$1.125) per kWh and reduce water and electricity costs by up to 40%, according to Arab News.

Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the kingdom is a major source of solar energy in the world.

The country’s petroleum and mineral resources minister Ali Al-Naimi has said before that KAUST will develop solar energy to meet a significant portion of the Kingdom’s growing power needs.

Electricity demand in the nation is growing at the rate of 7% per year.

Saudi Arabia plans to set up a solar-powered desalination plant with a capacity of 30,000m³.