Aramco selects Soitec's solar energy technology for pilot plant

CPV  fred vSoitec’s concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) cell panel. (Image source: fred_v/Flickr)Saudi Aramco has decided to use Soitec’s concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) technology for a one megawatt solar-energy pilot plant in Saudi Arabia's northwestern Tabuk region

This project is the first win for investment firm Khaled Juffali Company (KJC) and Soitec since the two companies signed a joint agreement in April 2013 to cooperate in driving solar-industry growth in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Following a competitive tender process, the oil and chemical giant selected Soitec’s CPV technology based on its perfect fit with the region.

Saudi Aramco’s two-fold objective for this project will be to successfully complete the work on schedule while testing the performance of CPV technology to better assess its levelised cost of energy (LCOE) advantage for future utility-scale installations.

CPV technology has been designed for high-performance in sunny regions such as Saudi Arabia to deliver practically constant power output during the day at high ambient temperatures.

It is a technology in the photovoltaic industry, achieving current energy-generating efficiencies of 30 per cent, approximately twice that of conventional photovoltaic technologies.

KJC founder and chairman Sheik Khaled Juffali said, “This win is a major breakthrough in the solar market and a great testimony to the ability of Soitec’s highly performing solar technology to deliver the highest competitive advantage in desert conditions.

“Being successful in winning this project with Soitec lays the groundwork for some additional very exciting projects as we establish a baseline of support for developing a solar-energy market in Saudi Arabia.”

Soitec Solar Division executive vice president Gaetan Borgers said, “We have made dedicated efforts in recent months to position ourselves in Saudi Arabia and to bring to the country a strong offering. We are very proud to have been selected in this first CPV tender and we look forward to a fruitful cooperation with Aramco.”

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