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13 June 2013

Saudi Aramco chooses Soitec's CPV solar technology

Partners Khaled Juffali Company (KJC), a Saudi Arabian investment company, and concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar system maker Soitec of Bernin, France, say that the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco), a global petroleum and chemicals company owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has decided to use Soitec's CPV technology for a 1-megawatt solar-energy pilot plant in Saudi Arabia's northwestern Tabuk region. This project with the world's largest oil producer is the first business win for KJC and Soitec since the two companies signed a joint agreement in April to cooperate in driving solar-industry growth in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

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

"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 under desert conditions," said KJC founder & chairman Sheik Khaled Juffali. "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."

"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," said Gaetan Borgers, executive VP of Soitec Solar Division. "This proof of confidence by the largest worldwide oil producer confirms Soitec's leading-edge technology and is further evidence of our company's technological and business innovations."

BELECTRIC Saudi Arabia LLC, a worldwide leader in the development and construction of utility-scale solar power plants, has developed the project based on Soitec's technology and will build the plant. BELECTRIC has connected more than a gigawatt of utility-scale solar power plants worldwide.

CPV is the most efficient technology in the photovoltaic industry, achieving current energy-generating efficiencies of 30% - approximately twice that of conventional photovoltaic technologies, says Soitec. Soitec's CPV modules incorporate a durable glass-glass design and Fresnel lenses to concentrate sunlight 500 times onto small, highly efficient multi-junction solar cells. Additionally, the company's systems use dual-axis tracking and achieve passive cooling without water consumption.

Saudi Arabia's government estimates that demand for electricity in Saudi Arabia should exceed 120GW in 20 years. To meet this growing need, the Kingdom intends to introduce a significant amount of alternative sources into its energy mix. According to K.A. CARE, the institution established by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah to implement the national renewable-energy policy, solar energy will account for 41GW of the country's installed capacity by 2032.

Tags: Soitec CPV


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