New coronavirus hospital in Madinah named after late Saudi nurse Nujood    Finance leaders discuss capital flows volatility over coronavirus fears    Arab Coalition did not commit rights violations in Yemen: Joint assessment team    Wall Street Closing    UAE sets up new office to support frontline workers    Dubai launches cyber index to promote online safety standards    Fernando Alonso joins Renault DP world F1 team    DSC marks official opening at DWTC    Joint Incidents Assessment Team issues a statement regarding allegations against Coalition Forces    Completion of First Batch of Privatization of the Flour Milling Sector    Bahrain Bourse Rises    Saudi gold production jumped 143% by 7.3 tons since 2016    Emergency Center for Epidemic Control Provides Medical Services in Hajjah Governorate, Yemen    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Approves Nominating Hani Al-Muqbel as Representative of Saudi Arabia in ALECSO's Executive Council    Al-Baha produces 800 ton of fine quality honey annually    Kingdom's Najd beats Australia's Jessica in FIFA 20 e-Football    Comprehensive online Arabic book platform hits the market    Jordan's Princess Raiyah weds Roald Dahl's grandson    Kuwait confirms 762 new COVID-19 cases    With 1,210 new cases, Oman corona infections top 50,000    Amman Stock Market Rises    Kuwait to disburse $780mn to support citizens in pvt. sector    Asian Shares Fall    West Bank festivities spark fresh corona outbreak    KSrelief continues water and sanitation project in Yemeni districts    Saudi Press: NEOM Signs Agreement for $5 billion Production and Export of Green Hydrogen    142 governmental initiatives to mitigate financial, economic effects of consequences of Coronavirus    Pandemic: 56% of women prefer child birth at home    Bahrain Bourse Rises    Aircraft Accessories and Components Company Appoints Eng. Mazen Johar as CEO    Saudi Special Olympics to Take Part in Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022    SFA and WHO sign accord in several strategic areas    DSC honors winners of Pocari Sweat 19K Run    Greenwood shines as 5-star Man United crush Bournemouth    Vardy nets 100th Premier League goal as Leicester beat Palace    Veteran Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan dies aged 71    Bayern Munich Sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City    Complementary, Alternative Medicine Practicing 1st Manual Version Issued    Actor Sushant found hanging in his Mumbai residence    Wives detect polygamy: Divorces up 30% in Saudi Arabia    Council of Senior Scholars advises old people to pray at home    Saudi Ithra center launches dialogue sessions with most famous creators in the world    SFDA Implements National Program to Ensure Safety of 10,000 Food Samples    Saudi Surgeon Managed to Remove Kuwaiti Girl's Brain Tumor, as French Physician Declined, in the last Moments    Senior Scholars Council Issues Decision No. 246 Regarding Attendance of Friday Prayer and Prayers at Mosques in a Case of Spread of Epidemic or Fear of its Spread    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Addresses Citizens and Muslims on Eid Al-Fitr    Custodian of Two Holy Mosques addresses Citizens and Muslims on the Advent of Holy Month of Ramadan    Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Launches Awareness Message on Sacrifice Day    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





KSA battles excess heat, dust to build solar power
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 24 - 05 - 2012

Saudi Arabia is getting serious about overcoming the technical and financial hurdles for tapping its other main resource: sunshine.
Thousands of solar power panels have sprung up across Europe over the past few years, thanks to generous subsidies that make the technology an attractive alternative to conventional energy.
Saudi Arabia too, wants to generate much more solar power as it lacks coal or enough natural gas output to meet rapidly rising power demand.
Doing so would allow it to slash the volume of oil it burns in power plants bankrolled by billions of dollars worth of saved oil earnings.
“At world market prices, solar is competitive if you use crude oil to generate electricity,” said Maher Al-Odan, a senior consultant at King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Research (KA-CARE) which was set up to plan Saudi Arabia's energy mix.
Saudi Arabia has said it wants to become a major solar producer before, but its investments amount to much less than 50 megawatts versus several countries which have added thousands of megawatts a year.
This month, KA-CARE set forth a much more ambitious plan, recommending that the kingdom aim to get more than a third of its peak-load power supply, or about 41 gigawatts (GW), from the sun within two decades at an estimated cost well over $100 billion.
Making the plan work economically rests on three assumptions: that technology improvements will cut costs, that a domestic solar industry will emerge and create jobs for a booming population, and that many billions of dollars worth of exportable oil will be saved.
An average of 700,000 barrels a day of crude were used in Saudi power stations during the peak air-conditioning demand period from May to September last year, according to official data supplied to the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI).
Although a rise in gas production should temper crude burning this summer, it will likely rise substantially in years ahead unless alternatives are found, and fast. “Domestic oil consumption is rising very rapidly and you get far more value for oil if it's exported than if it's consumed domestically,” said Paul Gamble, chief economist at Jadwa Research in Riyadh.
Technical challenges
KA-CARE said the first two solar plants, with combined capacity of 3 GW, might be put to tender in the first quarter of next year.
One of these will use concentrated solar power (CSP), which Riyadh says could supply an eventual 25 GW of the total 41 GW of planned solar capacity. The other will use photovoltaic (PV), the technology expected to meet the rest of the overall goal.
CSP is relatively new and much more expensive than PV. But unlike PV, it can store solar energy for several hours, which is a big advantage in a country where air conditioning demand remains high in summer long after the sun has gone down.
Both technologies will suffer efficiency losses in Saudi Arabia's harsh, arid conditions, but long periods of intense sunshine should help compensate.
“High temperatures in situations with high direct solar irradiation can have a significant impact on the maximum possible power output,” according to GFZ Potsdam, Germany's national research center for Earth Sciences.
Another problem could stem from desert dust that can reduce solar energy by 10-20 percent in efficiency, according to King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.
“We have losses due to high temperatures and so on,” KA-CARE's Odan said in an interview, comparing the likely performance of solar power in Saudi Arabia with that of Germany, the world's leading solar power.
“But what we gain from high radiation (from increased sunshine) more than compensates for the loss of efficiency.”
Subsidies
Paddy Padmanathan, chief executive of Acwa Power, which has developed eight fossil fuel power plants in Saudi Arabia and is bidding to build a large CSP plant in Morocco, said solar should be competitive for peak-time supply against gas and oil. He said that at Saudi Arabia's heavily subsidized gas price of $0.75 per million British thermal units (mmbtu), utilities could provide electricity at a cost of 7.5 halalas ($0.02) per kilowatt hour (kWh).
However, if the gas was valued at $6 per mmbtu, closer to world market prices, the cost of electricity would rise to 34 halalas/kWh.
Yet oil-fired power costs around 12.5 halalas/kWh at the Saudi oil supply price of $4.40 a barrel, rising to 60 halalas/kWh with oil valued closer to world levels at $80 a barrel.
By comparison, PV could deliver electricity for 45 halalas/kWh and CSP for 70 halalas.
While those prices are uncompetitive against artificially low gas prices in Saudi Arabia, he said solar power should work out cheaper when the cost of keeping large oil and gas plants on standby for delivering peak-load power are factored in.
Because Saudi Arabia wants to keep consumer electricity prices very low, solar power investments will need hefty state support.
But the economic benefits of saving hundreds of thousands of barrels a day of oil, the country's largest export earner, supports the economic case.


Clic here to read the story from its source.