Saudi Arabia announces shortlist for 300 MW tender, excludes lowest bid

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Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has shorlisted local energy company ACWA Power and a consortium formed by Japanese trading company Marubeni Corp., Khaled Ahmed Juffali Energy & Utilities Limited and Axia Power Holdings BV, to install 300 MW of PV in the country under Round 1 of Saudi Arabia’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP).

REPDO said the project will be officially awarded this month, and that financial close will be reached in February.

The facility, which has to rely on a 30% quota of locally manufactured PV components, will sell power under a 25 year PPA to the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC).

ACWA submitted the second lowest bid, an LCOE of 0.08872 SAR ($0.0236) per kWh, while the Marubeni-led consortium had offered an LCOE of 0.09976 SAR ($0.0266).

Despite their low bids, the offers by ACWA and Marubeni will not become the world’s cheapest solar bid, if accepted. This accolate falls to a consortium formed by Chinese module maker, Trina Solar and Japanese industrial group, Mitsui for a Mexican PV project, awarded in December, who will sell solar power at $19.7/MWh.

The offer from a consortium formed by UAE-based solar developer, Masdar and French power utility, EDF, which bid an LCOE of 0.06697 SAR ($0.0178) per kWh and would have become the world’s lowest solar bid, if accepted, was not shortlisted.

In the Saudi tender, many bidders offered prices under the $0.03 per kWh threshold: French energy group Engie with 0.10393 SAR ($0.0277) per kWh; Japanese engineering company JGC Corporation with 0.10441 SAR ($0.0278) per kWh; Japan-based industrial conglomerate Mitsui with 0.10710 SAR ($0.0285) per kWh; French oil group and SunPower’s largest shareholder Total with 0.10722 SAR ($0.0285) per kWh; and Cobra Energy with 0.12625 SAR ($0.0336) per kWh.

REPDO had shortlisted 27 companies in early April to proceed to the Request for Proposals stage of the tender. The initial request for qualifications was issued in February, and closed on March 20, 2017.

Under Round 1 of the NREP program, REPDO will support the development 700 MW of renewable energy generation capacity, of which 400 MW will be for wind and 300 MW for solar.