ReneSola, a leading global manufacturer of solar PV modules and wafers, has been awarded its first contract in the Middle East, by Taibah University in Medina, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia, to provide 15kW of solar modules to be used in an off-grid power plant project to test off-grid solutions.
The company's solar modules are expected to arrive in the holy city of Medina, Makkah Province, early this year and will be used to charge the plant's battery.
Commenting on the contract win, Xianshou Li, founder and chief executive officer of ReneSola says , "An off-grid solution, particularly one with PV modules powering an energy storage system, can be far more cost-effective than delivering electricity to a small area by conventional means.
"At the same time, a PV solution can typically be completed faster than grid-connected projects, which provides additional incentive for developers to go with an off-grid PV alternative. We believe such off-grid solutions will find a niche in the PV market, particularly in emerging markets like Africa, South America and the Middle East, where we are already seeing demand. With our new presence in Saudi Arabia, we will continue to work to expand our business and bring innovative PV solutions to the region."
According to Bloomberg, Saudi Arabia is investing US$109 billion into solar energy, with plans to develop a solar industry that can meet up to a third of its electricity demand by 2032, of which 16,000MW will be generated from photovoltaic panels. Work will commence on its first solar-powered facility this year and could take two years to complete.
Currently, Saudi Arabia has around 3MW of solar installations, lagging behind the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. However, Saudi Arabia would like to free up more of its oil for the export market. With current oil prices already high and predicted to rise significantly over the coming decades, solar energy would be a cleaner and more cost-effective alternative.
Zhidong Zheng, ReneSola's senior vice president of wafer technology, adds, "We believe our modules are well suited for the climates of Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East, particularly our Virtus II modules, which generate high efficiency with very low sensitivity to variations in temperature. The minimal degradation of our solar modules results in long life cycles and reliable power output. We are confident they will perform well in Medina, Makkah Province and attract other developers throughout the Middle East."