Saudi Arabia Completes Its Biggest Solar Power Plant

Saudi Arabia completed its biggest ground-mounted photovoltaic plant as the world’s largest crude oil exporter seeks to generate a third of its electricity with energy from the sun by 2032.

Germany’s Phoenix Solar AG (PS4) developed the 3.5-megawatt plant in Riyadh that uses 12,684 panels from China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) and inverters from SMA Solar Technology AG (S92), Phoenix Solar said in an e-mailed statement.

“This project represents an important milestone in the development of the solar industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Ron Shen, Suntech’s vice president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, said in a separate statement.

Saudi Arabia plans to boost renewable energy use as a way to pare back on oil consumption used for domestic desalinization and power plants, potentially saving 523,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day over the next 20 years. The country aims to have 41,000 megawatts of solar capacity within two decades, Maher al-Odan, a consultant at the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, said last year.

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