Saudi Arabia begins tender process for 300 MW PV plant

Round one of Saudi Arabia’s NREP will be managed by the newly created Renewable Energy Project Development Office of Saudi Arabia, and include a 300 MW solar PV park and 400 MW wind power plant. Today, the first request for qualifications opens, ahead of the request for proposals set to launch later in the year. Bidders qualifying for the proposal stage will be announced on April 10th 2017.

“This marks the starting point of a long and sustained program of renewable energy deployment in Saudi Arabia, that will not only diversify our power mix but also catalyze economic development and support long term prosperity,” stated Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih. “It is our goal to make the National Renewable Energy Program among the most attractive and well executed Government renewable energy investment programs in the world.”

A site has already been chosen for the 300 MW solar park: Sakaka, in the northern Al Jouf Province of the Kingdom. According to the Ministry of Energy, the site has already undergone pre-development work and the project will be backed by a 25-year PPA.

Once the qualifying round is complete, successful bidders will be invited to enter the request for proposals stage, due to begin on April 17th. “We look forward to engaging and working with developers and investors all over the world as the Kingdom works towards its energy transition,” continues Al-Falih.

Saudi Arabia is targeting a lofty 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2023, having launched a new energy plan last month at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Having stalled on renewable energy for years, the Kingdom finally looks set to begin to realize its huge potential for solar.

The move was initially met with some skepticism from the renewables sector, however IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin recently stated that Saudi Arabia’s move toward solar is genuine, and today’s announcement would appear to represent genuine progress towards this.