Almarai Company Solar Project Set to be Kingdom’s Largest, For Now

Saudi Arabia food and beverage conglomerate Almarai has completed a solar project which is being billed as Saudi Arabia’s largest to date, according to a report.

The 15MW Al Kharj Solar project, built at a cost of SAR44.4 million (around $12 million), will generate 28GWh of solar power every year, according to the company. Almarai said Al Kharj will bring annual CO2 emission savings of 8,100 tonnes, equal to planting more than 8,000 trees.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Khalid Al Falih, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia.

When Almarai’s Al Kharj begins operations, it will be the largest to date in Saudi Arabia, but it wont have that title for long. Al Kharj will soon be dwarfed by ambitious forthcoming solar plants planned by the Saudi government. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic and social reform plan calls for the oil-rich Kingdom to embrace the potential of renewable energy with targets of 40 GW of solar, 16 GW of wind, and 3GW of concentrated solar through large-scale investments by 2030.

This month, authorities invited 60 companies that pre-qualified to submit bids for six solar energy projects with a combined capacity of 1.5 gigawatts.

Much of the government work on solar projects is happening through the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) within the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, which was established in 2017.

Adding to the solar mix, work will begin soon on Dumat Al Jandal, the Kingdom’s first major wind power facility, located in the Al-Jouf province in the north of Saudi Arabia, near the 300MW Sakaka solar plant.