Saudi Arabia’s 1 GW solar tender invites bids by June 3


A press release issued by London-based data company GlobalData yesterday appears to confirm online reports the 1 GW section of the much-delayed third round of Saudi Arabia's National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) has a June 3 deadline for bidders.

GlobalData issued a statement about increasing competition between sovereign wealth fund driven Middle Eastern energy-project rivals ACWA Power, from Saudi Arabia, and the UAE's Masdar. The press release opened with: “Following the news that bidders for the next round of projects on Saudi Arabia's National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP) have until 3 June to submit proposals…”


There has been no official statement from the NREP program on its website or Twitter feed since April last year but British-owned website yesterday reported a previously announced bid deadline of March 24, for 1 GW worth of capacity under the third round of the national renewables scheme, had been extended until June 3.

The third round of the program, for which the request for proposals was last extended until early October last year, consists of two big ‘category B' projects, which are the subject of the reported June deadline, and two smaller ‘category A' projects which, according to power technology and other online reports, attracted three bidders earlier this month.

A source at the MEED Middle Eastern business website owned by GlobalData has confirmed to pv magazine the June 3 deadline refers to the two larger projects in the third round of the national scheme. cited “a source familiar with the round three schemes” to back a surmise Masdar and Chinese company Jinko will be among the contenders for the larger sites. The Saudi NREP program stated last April the category B projects comprised a 700 MW project at Ar Rass and a 300 MW Saad solar scheme.

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The smaller projects listed for round three – the 120 MW Wadi Ad Dawasir facility and the 80 MW Layla plant – are reported to have attracted bids from ACWA with, according to some sources, China's State Power Investment Corp; from the Total Solar division of the French power company, alongside Saudi investor Al-Blagha; and from Riyadh-based engineer Alfanar.

The NREP website has issued no update on the third round projects for more than a year, since stating the request for proposals for the larger projects would be extended to six months because of Covid-19 disruption. At that time, the state body said the same process for the smaller projects would be announced “later this month.” The story is still the top news article on the NREP English-language website. The department's Twitter feed has not been updated this year and the organization has not responded to pv magazine‘s attempts to make contact since.

The description of the tender issued by NREP a year ago stated the electricity generated by the plants would be bought by the Saudi Power Procurement Company under a 25-year PPA and said all projects would have an 18% local content requirement.

This copy was amended on 17/05/21 to include confirmation by MEED the June 3 deadline applies to the category B projects in the third round of the Saudi NREP.

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