Saudi Electricity, Showa Shell to Build 15-Megawatt Solar Plant

Saudi Electricity Co. (SECO), Saudi Aramco and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. will develop a solar plant with capacity of as much as 15 megawatts on the kingdom’s Farasan Island, 30 times more than a project announced yesterday.

Saudi Electricity will get the power from the photovoltaic plant and will assume ownership from Showa Shell after 15 years, Ali al-Barrak, the chief executive officer of the Saudi utility company, said in an interview in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil producers are boosting power supplies to meet the demands of growing economies and populations without burning valuable crude as fuel for power stations. The state-controlled utility agreed with Showa Shell to develop a 500-kilowatt solar-power plant on Farasan Island that would start in July, according to a statement on the Japanese refiner’s website.

“This is only a pilot project and we will develop next a 10- to 15-megawatt plant using the same photovoltaic technology,” al-Barrak said, without giving a timeframe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Khobar at wmahdi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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