SASIA: “Alternative solutions for electricity and water desalination by solar energy are coming soon”

Saood Hawas – Riyadh

Abdulmohsin Al Shoaibi, CEO of the Saudi Arabia Solar Industry Association (SASIA), affirmed to Al Youm newspaper that there are two major problems in Saudi Arabia with regard to electricity and water desalination: high rates of consumption, which need to be reduced by using the modern technology as the fuel consumed for energy industry is very high. He added that solar energy is an ideal and alternative solution to reduce the big waste of energy, and that has Saudi Arabia started to adopt many solutions that will have a lot of benefits to the society in the next years.

He admits: “Solar energy is not a new field to the world, it has been applied before and proved to be highly efficient in the European countries that preceded us in this field. We in Saudi Arabia want to benefit from this during the visit of the Canadian delegation, especially because Canada has good experience in this field. We anticipate great benefits, because half of the European countries’ usage of energy is based on alternative energy such as the solar energy, and there are also many kinds of energy used currently in the developed countries”.

Al Shoaibi clarified that the seminar held during the visit of the Canadian delegation specialized in renewable energy and solar energy technology. The event was organized by the Canadian embassy yesterday in Riyadh. Attendees included Al Shoaibi, Simon Kennedy — the Canadian Vice-Minister of foreign trade — and Thomas MacDonald — Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The Canadian delegation visited the electric company and King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A. CARE), and showed strong interest and enthusiasm for investing in Saudi Arabia because its climate is efficient for solar projects. The Canadian delegation hopes to take part in developing solar fields and energy plants in Saudi Arabia.

Al Shoaibi also indicated that support from the Government of Saudi Arabia is strong. “By overcoming the difficulties and providing all the capabilities by which we can transition to clean energy, that will provide a lot of benefits to the society.”

With regard to the main reasons for the delay in using the solar energy, Al Shoaibi admitted: “the program was announced nearly three years ago, but setting and formulating the regulations and laws with many departments and authorities takes time. The process needs extensive study to set the program up perfectly, because it is not easy to formulate such systems in such a short time. The program is considered to be new in the Saudi Arabia. In addition, it has taken time to establish King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy as the main entity and the base of developing solar energy systems in Saudi Arabia”.

He added: “Our country is about to begin many large and diverse projects in the solar energy field, both those announced by K.A. CARE as well as huge projects to produce more than 50 gigawatts. All these projects require transfers to modern technology from developed countries as we begin to take balanced and firm steps towards achieving a developed and advanced environment in the energy field.”

Al Shoaibi referred to systems, regulations, and rules for solar energy project developers, which are to be announced by the electricity regulation authority and related entities by 2015. These laws and regulations will serve all companies specializing in solar energy through deciding the tariff value that is calculated in the solar fields societies.