Saudi Arabia, the country with the world’s highest per capita consumption of electricity, is hoping that solar energy can take some of the burden off of its petroleum resources, Arab News/Eqtisadiah report. Facing the very real possibility that all Saudi oil production would be needed to meet demand for electricity in the foreseeable future, steps have to be taken now to find alternative energy sources. And if Saudi Arabia has lots of oil, it has even more sunlight shining down upon it.
This isn’t as straightforward an approach as it may seem at first, though. Major increases in the production of solar panels has led to a collapse in their prices. This has led to manufacturers, notably in China, cutting corners and sending out sub-standard products that fail quickly. The EU has recently imposed anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese producers who are trying to unload their overproduction at prices below their manufacturing costs. While the cost of producing electricity has dropped over the past 20 years, it is not yet competitive with other energy production methods and relies heavily on government subsidies. This is, in part, why Saudi Arabia is continuing on its path toward nuclear power generation.
‘Solar energy crucial to meet rising demand’
JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS/AL-EQTISADIAH
An expert here believes that the Kingdom is likely to spend all its oil on electricity in the country by 2031 if current consumption continues, and has called for an urgent program to harness solar energy.
“There must be real work done to benefit from this alternative energy in the Kingdom in light of climate changes, population growth and increasing electricity use,” said Abdel Malik Al-Junaidi, chairman of the mechanical engineering department at King Abdul Aziz University.
He said Saudi Arabia has a “real wealth” of alternative energy but has not exploited it. He said Saudi Arabia could become a leading exporter of solar power.
The Kingdom has this potential because it is located close to the equator, its skies are cloud-free and because the sun’s rays fall vertically onto the country.
“Solar energy generation can be 1,000 watts for every square meter which requires stations to transfer this solar energy to electrical energy. (This is important) especially since Saudi Arabia by 2031 will need to use all its oil for electricity production.”
Al-Junaidi said that Saudi Arabia has “the highest consumption of electricity in the world.”