(WASHINGTON, DC) - Saudi Arabia inaugurated its first solar power plant on October 1 as it continues to diversify its energy sources. The 500-kilowatt plant, located on Farasan Island, will save the equivalent of transferring 28,000 barrels of diesel fuel to the island annually.
The plant was constructed by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) and Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., a Japanese energy company partly owned by the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. This is one of the many initiatives led by SEC to introduce clean energy throughout the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia is committed to building and refining alternative energy solutions,” said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. “This program is one large step that will benefit the environment and the Saudi people.”
The Kingdom is a prime location to harness solar energy because of its year-round sunshine. The sun in Saudi Arabia emits about 7,000 watts of energy per square meter over an average of 12 hours every day.
In February 2010, the Saudi government, in coordination with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, began building the first solar-powered water desalination plant.