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Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to invest $109bn in solar

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is turning its attention to solar power in an effort to generate a third of its electricity by 2032.

It’s part of a $109bn plan and the Kingdom is now seeking investment to fulfill the objective, according to officials at the agency developing the plan.

Bloomberg reports that the Middle Eastern nation aims to have 41000 MW of solar capacity within two decades, said Maher al- Odan, a consultant at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy.

Meanwhile Khalid al-Suliman, vice president for the organization known as Ka-care, said on May 8 in Riyadh that nuclear, wind and geothermal would contribute 21000 MW.

“We are not only looking for building solar plants,” al- Odan said in an interview in Riyadh yesterday. “We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.”

For solar panel manufacturers such as First Solar Inc. (FSLR) and SunPower Corp. (SPWR), the Saudi Arabian market would open a huge new market as European countries reduce subsidies to keep a lid on installations.

Saudi Arabia currently has just 3 MW of solar installations, trailing Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The capital cost of installing the 41000 MW should be around $82Bn, al-Odan said. The rest of the $109bn investment will go to train the Saudis to run the solar plants as well as for maintenance and operation, he said.

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