Saudi Arabia fires up new Kaco PV inverter line

Saudi Arabia’s Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) has confirmed that production has begun on the country’s inaugural solar PV inverter line.

The Shams PV inverters are the result of a collaboration between German inverter specialist Kaco and AEC, and are the first such components to meet local content regulations in Saudi Arabia.

Colored green to represent a ‘healthy’ environment, and given the Arabic word for ‘sun’, the Shams inverters are available in sizes ranging from 20 kW to 2 MW. Hence, given the potential for producing large inverters, AEC claims that the facility’s annual production capacity is 1 GW.

Existing since November 2013 as a testing facility, the fab has a Saudization employment rate of more than 73%, with both Kaco and AEC said to have entered into several localization and technology transfer commitments that will augment the facility’s standing as a local manufacturing hub.

"AEC is proud to launch the first localized PV inverter in Saudi Arabia," said AEC CEO Ghassan Al-Shibl. "Our activities reflect the commitment of the government towards localizing advanced energy technologies, which will help to support national strategic objectives such as creating new jobs, the diversification of economic resources, and technology transfer."

Al-Shibl added that customers will benefit from this localized approach thanks to shorter lead times for supply and lower costs over the project lifetime.

Kaco CEO Ralf Hofmann confirmed that the company will continue to support AEC’s R&D activities in Saudi Arabia, and will be on hand to provide all O&M services for local customers that install the Shams PV inverters. Having that local manufacturing capacity will "certainly prove to be a major advantage", Hofmann said.