Saudi Arabian oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is expanding its 3.5 MWp KAPSARC project to 5.3 MWp, with Germany's Phoenix Solar again on board to design and construct the new photovoltaic plant.
In January, Phoenix Solar completed the installation of the 3.5 MW park, located on the grounds of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) in Riyadh.
For Phoenix Solar, it's the fifth project in Saudi Arabia and the second for Saudi Aramco.
The group's Phoenix Solar Oman and Phoenix Solar Singapore divisions, along with local partner Hi-Technology & Contracting Company, are overseeing the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of the new 1.8 MWp extension.
Construction on the KAPSARC II project began in June. Upon completion, the plant will cover some 2.6 hectares of desert land and feed more than 2,900 megawatt-hours a year directly into KAPSARCs medium voltage grid.
After undergoing serious restructuring earlier this year, Phoenix Solar is now focusing more on the Gulf region as well as the U.S., Klaus Friedl, Phoenix Solar's vice president of projects and head of Middle East, told pv magazine.
Friedl said the group's subsidiaries in the U.S. and Singapore are growing and adds that Phoenix Solar LLC in Oman is also increasing activities in the the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, mainly in Saudi Arabia.
Although Phoenix Solar had initially planned to close its Oman division as part of the company's restructuring earlier this year, Friedl told pv magazine that the company decided against the move after reassessing the situation.
Phoenix Solar "came to the conclusion that business in the GCC can only seriously be done by a GCC subsidiary," Friedl said, adding that rather than close the Oman subsidiary, there were now only plans "to increase the business in the region."
Indeed, Phoenix Solar CEO Bernd Köhler said: "The Middle East is a fast growing region, with potentially high demand for solar energy in the future. With this new order in hand we will strengthen the Oman office, which will operate with the support of Phoenix Solar Singapore. Both subsidiaries will combine experience and know-how to apply the best solutions to accommodate the harsh desert climate conditions of this region and to continue building high performance solar power plants."
Friedl added that both the Oman and Singapore subsidiaries are currently active "in the entire GCC but with a focus on Saudi Arabia."
Saudi Arabia is set to launch a competitive procurement process for renewable energy later this year. The ambitious program, unveiled in February, includes short-term targets of 1.1 GW of photovoltaics in the first round and another 1.3 GW of photovoltaics in round two. The country's tentative long-term plans foresee 41 GW of solar by 2032, including 16 GW of photovoltaics.
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