Given that the Saudi government has previously stated its plan to invest more than US$109 billion dollars into solar energy — with the aim to develop a solar industry that can provide 1/3 of its electricity by the year 2032 — the announcement isn’t surprising. But it does represent some of the first concrete action by the country — and should go some ways towards silencing those who say that the Saudi government isn’t truly serious about investing in solar energy.

saudi arabia solar
Suntech Powers Largest Solar System in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

“They [the Saudi government] want to come out with something this year,” Fotuhi stated in an interview with PV-Tech. “If everything holds, then we will have the introductory round of projects unveiled by the end of the year. This will be roughly 1000 MW, between 700-1000 MW. They are targeting 40-42 GW, 1 GW is not that big in the grand scheme of things.”

“They are in the process of screening technical advisors who are going to help them put together the blueprints for these commercial contracts and also train the local Saudis on how to oversee and implement these projects including the tendering. That’s going on now,” he continued.

“This will instill a lot of excitement and a lot of confidence. People will see this is just the first step and once it is announced, within short order, they’ll see other project unveiled and the momentum will build as they get traction. This is the beginning of a very exciting chapter for the Middle East and especially for Saudi Arabia.”