With Kuwait, Qatar and even renewables laggard Saudi Arabia following in the wake of regional clean energy pioneer the UAE, a raft of huge solar tenders is entering the Middle Eastern project pipeline. Obstacles remain to overseas project developers but significant rewards are on offer.
With a combination of scale, a growing population, outstanding irradiation, and available capital, solar PV should be a ‘no brainer’ for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But early explorations of the technology have soured expectations, and progress has come in fits and starts.
According to the latest market forecast published by Wood Mackenzie, it seems that global PV installation figures will rise to 125 GW per year from 2020. Continued global capacity expansion will come in through a growing gigawatts-club.
Scientists at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science Technology have set a new efficiency record of 21.09% for a single crystal perovskite. The researchers say this highlights a place for the technology to develop alongside the multicrystalline versions which are progressing toward commercialization.
Scientists at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have demonstrated a system based on commercially available solar panels which can generate electricity and produce clean, drinkable water from seawater or otherwise contaminated sources.
China’s vast continent-spanning infrastructure project could fertilize solar growth along its perimeter at considerable scale as energy demand in the countries along the route is set to surge.
More than 100 domestic developers were interested in the seven-project, 1.515 GW generation capacity second round of the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program. That number has been reduced to dozens, according to a briefing note, and a request for proposals is expected within weeks.
The Chinese state-owned infrastructure investment fund, which already has strong ties to the Saudi power company, will be a major shareholder in a Middle East and African clean energy portfolio that adds up to 1668 MW of generation capacity.
With clean energy being generated at lower and lower prices around the world, solar power is playing a leading role in bringing the curtain down on coal, and will help the decarbonization of transport and space heating too.
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