Saudi Arabia officially launches first utility-scale renewables project

saudi arabia sakaka plant
Image credit: ACWA Power

Saudi Arabia-based multinational energy company ACWA Power has inaugurated what is claimed to be the country’s first utility-scale renewable energy plant.

The 1.2 billion Saudi riyals ($320 million) 300 MW Sakaka solar PV plant is an important project in the transition of Saudi Arabia towards a renewable energy-based economy, according to a statement.

An ACWA Power-led consortium won the contract for the development of the project as part of the country’s National Renewable Energy Programme designed to reduce the cost of solar energy.

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The project was awarded at a world record tariff of 8.781 halalas ($2,34)/kWh in 2018.

ACWA Power and its project partners completed the project at a record time. Saudi investor Al Gihaz Holding owns a 30% stake in the Sakaka Solar Energy Company whilst ACWA Power owns a 70% stake.

The Sakaka project is expected to encourage local Saudi companies to participate in the implementation of renewable energy projects and in equipping the local people with renewable energy skills.

Almost 97% of the operating team at the Sakaka project are Saudis and 90% of the workforce from the Al Jouf region.

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Minister of Energy, said: “The private sector plays a fundamental role in the development of renewable energy projects in the Kingdom.”

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