The Challenges of Implementing Solar Systems in Saudi Arabia

Solar system in Saudi arabia

A Solar-Powered KSA

Solar energy plants have become imperative for Saudi Arabian future, and its vision of a thriving economy. Saudi Arabia has heavily depended on oils for energy production; however, the geological location of Saudi Arabia also makes it ideal for solar power generation.

Additionally, it would increase the oil reserves of the country for export or to manage international supply. Several solar power companies like Ethraa have already started operation as part of this vision of change. The first solar plant was established in 2011 as a 500 KW photovoltaic plant.

The Role of the Government in Becoming Solar

The government of Saudi Arabia has attempted to make a shift to renewable energy but has not made significant progress. Many projects have been abandoned before completion, but the government once more has taken a step towards renewables to achieve vision 2030.

Solar energy plants

Challenges of Adopting Solar

Although the prospects of a solar-powered KSA would be excellent, particular problems still exist in its aim.

  • 1. Institutional and Administrative Constraints

    Two government agencies by the name of – King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) and the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA) are governing alternative energy creation. However, the unambiguous role definition of the two authorities can result in administrative issues. Hence the scope of work for each body needs to be specified.

  • 2. Infrastructure

    The most critical step of any solar power plant is the grid connection, which would ensure the distribution of the electricity generated. Most infrastructure issues arrive when connecting to the transmission grid. In Saudi Arabia, solar power providers only have guaranteed access instead of priority access. Hence in situations when the grid is unable to adjust all the incoming electricity, they will not have any priority over fossil fuel-fired generators.

Solar power
  • 3. Financial Constraints

    The private and commercial sectors, in particular, deal with financial barriers because of the high costs of solar panels and the market risk involved in setting up a solar plant. Additionally, Saudi individuals are rated high on uncertainty avoidance, making their perceived risk higher than others.

  • 4. Foreign Investment

    Saudi Arabia will be competing against other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for foreign investment without which executing a project of this size would impose further difficulties.

Solar activity

The government needs to play an active role in overcoming these challenges. Only then KSA can expect to increase its solar activity. However, a ray of hope can be seen, with the recent actions of the government and the increasing prevalence of solar companies throughout the county. Ethraa, as a renewable energy solutions provider, already envisions Saudi Arabia as a sustainable nation. National development and world sustainability are the driving factors behind Ethraa’s vision. Contact Us for more information on the prospects of solar energy.

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