Saudi Arabia launches 1.2 GW solar tender

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Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) has opened the request-for-qualification process related to a tender for 1.2 GW of solar generation capacity.

REPDO will use the third round of the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program to select developers to construct four solar power projects, with generation capacities of 80, 120, 300 and a mammoth 700 MW.

The Saudi government stated the selected projects must contain at least 17% local content. The deadline to pre-qualify for the tender is February 6.

In March, REPDO said the second round of the program – intended to allocate 1.5 GW of large scale solar capacity – attracted 250 bidders. In July, the administrative body said the number of bidders had been narrowed down to 60, 28 of which are based in Saudi Arabia. The final results of the exercise are yet to be announced.

In the first round of the procurement program, REPDO assigned 300 MW of solar generation capacity to a single facility, the Sakaka solar project which is now operational. That first tender attracted global attention by attracting the lowest solar electricity price ever bid, with French energy giant EDF offering to generate solar power for a levelized cost of SAR0.06697/kWh ($0.018). That bid was rejected, however, with Saudi energy giant ACWA taking the prize with an offer of SAR0.08872/kWh.