Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, present at the signing of a power supply deal related to the 700MW Ar Rass solar project, said the kingdom is planning a massive renewables drive by the end of next year, according to energy company and Ar Rass developer Acwa Power.

The energy minister of Saudi Arabia has, according to 50% state-owned energy company Acwa Power, signaled plans for a vast clean energy program in the kingdom by the end of next year.

A press release issued today by Acwa Power to announce the signing of a power purchase agreement connected to the 700MW Ar Rass solar project stated: “During the signing ceremony, the minister of energy announced that the energy sector aims to launch several renewable energy projects to produce approximately 15,000MW of clean energy between the years 2022 and 2023, with the aim of diversifying the energy mix and achieving its designated targets.”

Unclear

It was not clear whether the statement of intent made by Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud related to 15GW of renewable energy generation capacity or clean energy facilities sufficient to generate 15GWh of green electricity. Nor was it clear whether the projects would be completed by the end of next year, or merely launched. pv magazine has asked Acwa Power for clarification.

Acwa, which said it has been tasked with commissioning 70% of the 58.7GW of clean energy project capacity required by the kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) this decade – some 41.09GW – announced government body the Saudi Power Procurement Company (SPPC) has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement to buy the electricity to be generated at the Ar Rass project, in Al Qassim province.

The energy company did not state how much the SPPC will pay for the power generated at the $450 million site, which Acwa said is expected to reach financial close in the final quarter of this year and which it expects to be operational by 2025.

The solar project, in central Saudi Arabia, is set to generate enough electricity to power 132,000 homes, once fully operational, Acwa said, and will be 40.1% owned by the power company, 39.9% owned by Chinese state-owned entity the State Power Investment Corp, and 20% owned by the Water and Electricity Holding Company which is held by Saudi sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund.

Acwa said Ar Rass will be the largest facility developed under the NREP program to date.