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Saudi Aramco to Use Soitec’s Solar Systems in Pilot Project

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest crude exporter, will evaluate Soitec’s solar energy systems for possible utility-scale deployments.

Saudi Aramco chose the company’s equipment in a competitive bidding process for a 1-megawatt pilot project that Belectric Holding GmbH will build in Saudi Arabia’s northwestern Tabuk region, Bernin, France-based Soitec said today in a statement. The expected cost wasn’t disclosed.

Saudi Arabia’s government estimates that demand for electricity in the country may exceed 120 gigawatts in 20 years, and the kingdom plans to introduce more renewable power to meet that need, including 41 gigawatts of solar generating capacity by 2032, Soitec said.

Khaled Juffali Co., a Saudi Arabian investment company, is Soitec’s partner for the project. It agreed in April to cooperate with the French manufacturer on solar installations in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Soitec’s concentrating photovoltaic, or CPV, systems use lenses and mirrors to focus sunlight on solar panels and generate more power than conventional products. Its technology has achieved energy-generating efficiencies of 30 percent, about twice that of conventional photovoltaic panels, Soitec said.

CPV equipment is typically more expensive than standard solar panels, which have fallen in price by about 56 percent since 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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