Arabian university goes solar

by Antonio Pasolini on December 15, 2008

Conergy Asia-Pacific, the regional subsidiary of Hamburg-based Conergy AG, has been awarded a contract for a 2-megawatt solar power plant for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Conergy Asia-Pacific is awarded the prestigious project under a consortium agreement with Saudi-based National Solar Systems, a leading solar systems integrator in the Kingdom, whose population is estimated at 27 million with energy demands growing at an annual rate of 5%. Under the agreement, Conergy will manage the design and components supply, while installation and operational management are implemented by National Solar Systems.

Located in Thuwal north of the city of Jeddah, the project is managed by the oil giant, Saudi Aramco on behalf of the Saudi Government, and is being executed by several large construction contractors including Saudi Oger who is managing the photovoltaic portion of the KAUST project. The scope of work consists of two rooftop solar plants with an output of 1-megawatt each, to be installed on the North and South Laboratories of the University. The photovoltaic plant, valued at €11.3m (US$15.4m), is also the first large-scale solar project of its kind in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). It will occupy 11,577 square meters of roof space and produce 3,332 megawatt hours of clean energy annually, while also saving up to 1,666 tonnes of yearly carbon emissions. This equates to carbon offsets for approximately 11,758 million kilometers of air travel.

“With its arid climate and vast desert landmass, Saudi Arabia is geographically optimal for harnessing solar power,” explained Florent Abadie, Director, Development and Technology Asia-Pacific at Conergy. “We commend the Saudi authority’s remarkable support for cleantech development and inspiring commitment to renewable energy, which we are witnessing in the Kingdom’s leading policymakers and decision-makers.”

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