Saudi Arabia has an ambitious vision to establish itself as a renewable energy hub in the Middle East and beyond. The market is growing rapidly and solar power generation will more than triple by 2023. But obstacles remain for the Kingdom to continue on this PV path, and these challenges were discussed at the SunRise Arab conference in Riyadh this week.
Saudi Arabia has long been recognized as a region with huge solar potential, and in the past few years it has begun taking greater steps to achieve this goal. Photovoltaic installations are expected to continue growing at an impressive pace until 2030, and likely beyond, this week's SunRise Arabia event in Riyadh revealed.
Speakers at the opening of the conference noted that the Kingdom currently has nearly 8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity connected to the grid and has demonstrated a need to add more capacity by 2030.
Several large-scale projects have been completed and more are underway. Solarabic CEO Moneef Barakat pointed out that international players are encouraged to enter this field by a bidding mechanism that ensures stable demand and allows them to quickly start construction, with the issuing agency responsible for land acquisition and many other preliminary tasks.
There is also an emerging market for commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects, with experts predicting significant growth later this decade. Many C&I project developers attended SunRise UAE hoping to meet component suppliers and other industry players. Ahead of the event, Marcus Schrauf, CEO of developer FAS Renewables, told pv magazine that he believed no other market in the world could match Saudi Arabia’s potential.